You are leaving hospital with a surgical wound after an operation. Your wound has been closed with stitches/sutures/clips. Because you have a wound, you may be at risk for a wound infection. Infected wounds take longer to heal and can be more painful. This information will advise you on how to look after your wound at home to help prevent an infection.

Stiches

How to Care for your Wound

  • Check the dressing daily
  • Dressings should only be changed if dirty, loose or if there are signs of infection
  • Otherwise, leave the dressing in place for 4-5 days
  • Wash your hands for at least one minute before changing the dressing and make sure that they are fully dry.

What equipment will I need?

  • Sterile absorbent, dry dressing- Ask about these at your local pharmacy
  • Proper anti-bacterial hand-wash
  • Plastic bag to discard the old dressing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Wound Care

Do

  • Shower instead of bath as unclean bath water may put you at more risk of infection
  • Keep the dressing in place while you shower
  • After showering, remove the wet dressing and discard in a plastic bag
  • Use a clean towel to dry the skin around the wound gently
  • Use a separate towel to dry the rest of the body
  • Put on a new, clean dressing, making sure all of the wound is covered
  • Wash your hands after changing the dressing
  • Leave the dressing in place until stitches/skin staples have been taken out.

Don’t

  • Do not handle or disturb the dressing (except when changing it) or scratch the wound
  • Do not apply any creams to the wound until healed as it may cause an infection
  • Do not use the towel for drying the skin around the wound on any other part of the body- This should be washed
  • Do not crease the dressing, where possible, as this may lead to blistering of the skin under the dressing.