The care of your surgical wound is straightforward. There are three simple rules to follow:
- Keep the wound clean
- Beginning the day after discharge from the hospital, you should wash the wound with shampoo or soap daily. It is OK to get the wound wet (even let the shower water hit the wound directly). DO NOT SCRUB the wound. By the time you have left the hospital, there is already a water-tight barrier and getting the wound wet will not cause harm. Do not go swimming or submerge the wound, however. Pad the wound with a towel to dry.
- Keep the wound dry
- Do not apply antibacterial ointments to the wound after discharge. While in the hospital, you will have an antibiotic ointment placed on the wound. This is not necessary after discharge from the hospital, and in fact may kill normal (healthy) bacteria that colonize the skin, making room for more dangerous bacteria.
- Keep the wound open to the air
- Bacteria like dark, moist, oxygen poor environments. Keeping the wound open to the air helps keep your wound clean and healthy. Morevoe, caps and kerchiefs, etc may rub up against the wound and increase the risk of infection.