Reducing the risk of wound infection

Reducing the risk of wound infection


Reducing the risk of wound infection. This section explains what you can do to help reduce the risk of infection and prepare for surgery. In the month before surgery let your GP know if you think you have any infection that may need treating and clearing up before coming into hospital. This includes urinary tract infection or chest infections it also includes conditions like cellulitis or other issues which may be near to or over the expected surgical site. Such for example a fungal infection between the skin folds on the stomach. If not treated the pathogens involved in these infections may spread and cause a problem after surgery with your wound. In the week before coming into hospital, don’t shave the hair from your chest, arms, legs, groin or any area of your body which may be involved in surgery. This is because studies showed that shaving may increase the risk of infection in certain types of operations. If needed the nurse will help you remove hair for surgery using electric clippers while you are in hospital. It’s recommended that you shower methodically the day before and as well as on the day of surgery. This will help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin. Have a shower and wash your hair using liquid soap and shampoo, clean flannels and clean towels. You may be given a special antimicrobial liquid soap to use before your surgery. Use this according to the product’s instructions or as advised by hospital staff. In hospital the nurse can assist you if you need help showering. After surgery it is very important to have a full daily wash even if you feel tired. After your surgery, and most importantly for staff and patients, keeping hands clean is an effective way of preventing the spread of infection. During your recovery period we recommend that you aim to wash your hands at least 10 times a day which is in line with other health care advice to stop infections. Please don’t touch your wound or any cannula or tubes placed by doctors as this could increase the risk of infection. Once you go home we recommend that you continue to wash your hands as you would do normally plus double again for the first few weeks after surgery. Continue to avoid touching the wound until the skin is sealed over with a flat scar and keep movement gentle so as not to stretch or stress the area. You’ll have a follow-up appointment to check on the wound and healing progress either in hospital or with a community carer. This preparation is a general guide, your hospital staff will give you all the help and specific advice you’ll need for your surgery and recovery period

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