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How can I prevent infection of my wounds after surgery?

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Only about 3% of people have an infection after surgery. But your chances go up if you're older, you smoke, you're overweight, or you have diabetes or other medical issues. The risk is also higher with an emergency operation or a surgery that lasts more than a couple of hours.

Your doctors, nurses, and other health-care providers should clean their hands and all tools and devices they use thoroughly. While you're recovering, carefully follow your doctor's instructions for caring for your cut. Wash your hands before you do. When friends and family come to visit, ask them to clean their hands, too, with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

SOURCES:

MedlinePlus: "After Surgery."

Cleveland Clinic: "What You Need to Know About Pain Control After Surgery."

American Society of Anesthesiologists: "Effects of Anesthesia."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Is Atelectasis?" "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Atelectasis?" "How Is Atelectasis Treated?"

CDC: "FAQs About Surgical Site Infections."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Surgical Site Infections."

Torpy, J.M. , published online June 23, 2010. Journal of the American Medical Association

Darrah, D.M. , published online September 27, 2009. Anesthesiology Clinics

OrthoInfo: "Deep Vein Thrombosis," "Preventing Blood Clots After Orthopaedic Surgery."

Merck Manual: "Surgery."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on June 18, 2018

SOURCES:

MedlinePlus: "After Surgery."

Cleveland Clinic: "What You Need to Know About Pain Control After Surgery."

American Society of Anesthesiologists: "Effects of Anesthesia."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Is Atelectasis?" "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Atelectasis?" "How Is Atelectasis Treated?"

CDC: "FAQs About Surgical Site Infections."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Surgical Site Infections."

Torpy, J.M. , published online June 23, 2010. Journal of the American Medical Association

Darrah, D.M. , published online September 27, 2009. Anesthesiology Clinics

OrthoInfo: "Deep Vein Thrombosis," "Preventing Blood Clots After Orthopaedic Surgery."

Merck Manual: "Surgery."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on June 18, 2018

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What are some problems with using the bathroom after a surgery?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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