Surgical Site Infections: Warning Signs & Wound Care

Wound Care Do’s

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your wound or changing the dressing, as well as afterwards.

Follow your doctor‘s orders and discharge instructions carefully. Ask any family or friends who visit you to wash their hands before visiting you even if they aren’t coming into direct contact with your wound, hand-washing is critical to prevent infections.

Ask her healthcare team to wash their hands before treating you if they haven’t already. Know who you should call if you have questions or concerns while you are at home recovering.

Wound Care Don’ts

Allow loved ones to touch your wounds.

Smoke. Smoking slows the time it takes for your body to heal and significantly increase the chance of infection.

Wear tight clothing that will rub against your incision.

Use your own medications or ointments for the wound such as alcohol, peroxide or a day bacterial soap.

Use the same dressing more than once. Discard it and use a new dressing.

Ignore warning signs that may indicate there is an infection. It is better to be safe than sorry and call your doctor right away.

Warning Signs

Surgical site infection or SSI is an infection that occurs at the site where the incision was made during surgery. Infections occur when microorganisms (germs) enter the surgical one.

The chance of developing an SSRI is about 1 to 3%, and most show up within the first 30 days after surgery. While they can be treated, some serious infections may require additional surgery, and being readmitted to the hospital. It is important to recognize the warning signs of infection so that you can call your doctor right away. Signs of infection include:

  • Puss coming from the incision
  • A bad smell coming from the wound
  • The incision feeling hot to the touch
  • There is redness around the incision
  • The incision area is painful or very sore to touch
  • There is swelling around the incision
  • The incision is taking longer to heal than you expected
  • You develop a fever
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