Inflammation is a normal part of the healing process and slight redness around an incision less than an inch can be considered normal, especially in the first 2 weeks of healing. We actually want a bit of inflammation because it brings all the healing nutrients via the blood directly to the area of concern.
Infection on the other hand is an abundance of bacteria in the area that overwhelms your immune response and requires treatment.
A wound infection can delay healing and cause significant issues that may require extended in-patient hospital stays and surgery. Monitor your wound for Increasing Redness, Increased Pain, Green/Smelly/Copious spike in Drainage, General feeling of malaise/flu-like symptoms. You should contact your surgeon with any potential signs of infection.
If your Doctor tells you to "Watch It" make sure to follow these simple steps
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap or wear gloves before touching the wound.
If you touch soiled blood/pus-covered dressings, make sure to clean or hands or change gloves again before you touch the actual open area.
Take a clear picture of the wound and surrounding skin to share if asked.
Use an antibacterial wound dressing. Products with Honey or Silver are very common.
Keep the area covered
Monitor for any increasing redness, smelly drainage, pain, feelings of itchiness; especially if the sensations being to increase and spread versus feeling better or closer to the actual open area. Go to Urgent Care or ER when in doubt.
If the area improves; then continue with your current treatment until it's time for a change.
If the area gets worse, it may be required for treatment with antibiotics oral or IV depending on your personal situation. Regardless, the faster treatment is started the better to prevent disastrous side effects. Contact your MD again or consider going to an Urgent Care or ER depending on your healthcare coverage recommendations.
Individuals at increased risk for infection include:
-Extended Surgical Time or Hospital Stay
Infections after a procedure can start a few days or weeks after the procedure and continue while the area is open. Implanted devices are susceptible areas to infection from wounding from trauma even years after a procedure and vigilance is key.
If you have concerns about the protocol of supplies currently being used, video consultation is available to improve your current situation. However, if you suspect an active infection, contact your Medical Doctor asap, go to Urgent Care or ER when in doubt.