What You Can Do to Help Prevent a Surgical Site Infection

Before Surgery

  • Tell your doctor about other medical problems you may have.
  • Quit smoking. Patients who smoke get more infections, so talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking.
  • Do not shave near where you will have surgery. Shaving with a razor can irritate your skin and make it easier to develop an infection.
  • Take a bath and wash your hair the night before surgery.

After Surgery

  • Make sure health care providers clean their hands before caring for you, either with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Family or friends visiting you should not touch the surgical site or dressings.
  • Family and friends visiting you should wash their hands before and after visiting.

At Home

  • Make sure you understand how to care for your wound before leaving the hospital.
  • Always clean your hands before touching or caring for your wound.
  • Before leaving the hospital, make sure you know who to contact if you have questions or problems.
  • If you have any symptoms of infection, such as redness and pain at the surgery site, drainage, or fever, call your doctor immediately.

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