Rapid Recovery Book

Recognizing & Preventing Complications & Infection

Signs of Infection:

 Increased swelling and redness at incision site.  Change in color, amount or odor of drainage.

 Increased pain in hip or knee.  Fever greater than 101.5 degrees.  A tapering low grade fever is common after joint replacement surgery.

Prevention of Infection:

 Do not touch your incision unless you are cleaning it.  Continue good hand hygiene. Always wash your hands before touch- ing your incision. Wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol gel before you eat, after visiting the toilet, using the commode or urinal. You should also use hand gel or wash your hands after blowing your nose.  If you had a drain in place after surgery, clean the area where the drain was with rubbing alcohol twice a day.  You do not need to cover your incision unless your doctor tells your otherwise. If you have house pets and your incision has staples or stiches, you may want to cover your incision with a light dressing. If you have steri - strips (also called skin tapes or butterflies), do not pull them off. It is OK to get them wet but do NOT pull them off. If they start to curl up, have someone carefully trim them with a clean pair of scissors.  If you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar.  Notify your family physician and your dentist that you have had a joint replacement. You will need to take prophylactic antibiotics when you have any dental procedure. This will need to be done for the rest of your life unless instructed otherwise.  It is very important that you take good care of your teeth.  Do not let any infection go untreated.

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