Preventing Surgical Site Infection

How to Help Prevent Surgical Site Infection

Before surgery:

  • Tell the doctor about any other medical problems you have.
  • Quit smoking: patients who smoke get more infections, so smokers should discuss quitting with their doctor.
  • Avoid shaving near the surgical site: shaving with a razor can irritate skin and make it easier to develop an infection.

At the time of surgery:

  • Ask questions if a health care provider tries to shave the surgical site with a razor before surgery and discuss any concerns with the surgeon.
  • Ask if you will receive antibiotics before the surgical procedure.

After surgery:

  • Make sure that health care providers clean their hands before postoperative examinations, either with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based rub
  • Do not allow visiting family or friends to touch the surgical site or dressings
  • Make sure family or friends visiting clean their hands before and after visiting

At home:

  • Make sure you understand the instructions given by the doctor or nurse on caring for the wound
  • Wash hands before and after caring for the wound
  • Know who to contact with any questions or problems after going home
  • If the patient has any symptoms of an infection, such as redness and pain at the surgery site, drainage, or fever, he or she should contact a doctor immediately.

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