Post-Plastic Surgery “Must-Haves” at Home

Are you scheduled to have a plastic surgery procedure and wondering what might make your recovery more comfortable once you get back home? We have some suggested “must-have” items that can aid in the healing process and help make the first several days at home a bit less stressful. Taking it easy after any kind of reconstructive or plastic surgery is essential, and with a little preparation, relaxation is achievable with the right products and supplies. One of the best things you can do to help aid post-surgery recovery is to plan ahead.

Comfortable Clothing

Do you have a favorite oversized button-up shirt and pajama pants? If not, it is time to purchase a few sets. After surgery, it’s not about fashion, it’s about comfort. Loose-fitting clothing will be your new favorite look, and your body will thank you later.

After plastic surgery, such as breast surgery, lifting your arms may be temporarily difficult. A large button-up or zip-up top is easy to put on and take off. Soft, loose-fitting bottoms with either an elastic waistband or tie and a pair of slippers are also highly recommended. For a few days and sometimes longer, you will want to minimize the amount of movement necessary for you to put on and take off clothing articles.

Vascular Compression Garments

The body naturally produces fluids during recovery, and wearing a compression garment can help the body recover and increases your comfort during the healing process. The compression garment aids in a smooth recovery process after surgical procedures by applying even pressure around the treated area, preventing fluid buildup and helping the body absorb any fluid that does not accumulate.

Vascular compression garments are constructed of elastic and nylon material and work to facilitate a tight (but not constrictive) fit. Compression garments ensure that specific body areas receive constant, uniform pressure and are appropriately sized to fit your body’s contours for the type of surgery you underwent.

Some of the benefits of wearing compression garments include:

  • They Can Promote Healing
  • Swelling happens when the body sends fluid to the surgery site after a surgical procedure. By using compression garments, the amount of fluid buildup reduces, resulting in less swelling.
  • They Can Reduce Infections
  • Because compression garments are placed over the surgery site, bacteria and other potential contaminants are kept away from the wound, keeping the surgery site protected from possible infection.
  • They Can Prevent Bruising
  • Bruising is common after surgery. Blood vessels are disrupted when a surgical incision is made, causing blood to leak from small blood vessels under the skin near the surgical site. This bruising can be minimized by using compression garments to help red blood cells from working themselves up to the surface of the skin.
  • They Can Minimize Scarring
  • Compression garments deliver pressure therapy to help manage the development of scar tissue. The compression garment holds the skin together firmly and interferes with the body’s ability to produce collagen at the surgery site, which is how scars are formed.

Body Support Pillows

After a plastic surgery procedure such as a facelift or rhinoplasty, keeping your head elevated is helpful. Those that undergo breast and body plastic surgery procedures can benefit from body pillows and cushions such as the body pillowcervical pillow, or thera cushion by Hermell Products.

Pillows help position your body so that you can rest and sleep comfortably during recovery. Some plastic surgery procedures like breast surgery won’t allow you to sleep on your sides for an extended period. Having a couple of body pillows on each side can help you stay in place throughout the night without worrying about accidentally turning onto your side.

Underpads or a Mattress Cover

After most surgical procedures, our digestion systems get disrupted. The use of anesthesia and other pain medications and lack of mobility all contribute to constipation. Some respond well to gentle constipation relief like stool softeners or laxatives, while others may wind up having unpredictable diarrhea episodes. By preparing yourself and your recovery area with underpads, bed pads, or chux, you can protect yourself and your furniture from these incidents.

For even more security for your bed, you might opt for a mattress cover. A mattress cover or mattress protector can help extend your mattress’s life by protecting it from stains. With a mattress cover on, you are safeguarding your bed from leaks and spills that can also result in potential mold growth if the liquids soak deep into the mattress. Just make sure that you choose a waterproof option when purchasing your mattress cover. In addition to keeping your bed clean and sanitary, a mattress cover can also provide another comfort layer.

Skin & Wound Care Supplies

You cannot wash your hands enough after surgery. The frequent use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap can prevent infection and the spread of it. Place hand sanitizers next to your bed, the kitchen, near the toilet, and at your front door for visitors to use upon entry.

Your regular personal hygiene routine might not be possible when you are recovering. With some surgeries, your doctor’s orders may include for you to not get wet for the first few days after plastic surgery. Stock up on no-rinse products like foaming cleansers and body wash, rinse-free shampoo, and no-rinse perineal cleanser. These products can help you feel cleaner and more comfortable.

You can also benefit by being well-stocked on wound care supplies such as gauze sponges and pads, wound care spray, and alcohol prep wipes or swab sticks. Your doctor may send you home with a little care pack that includes a limited amount of these supplies, but that will usually not be enough. Depending on the directions you receive from your surgeon, your would site may need to be cleaned and redressed multiple times a day. Having an ample supply of wound care products can keep your surgery site sterile and help reduce the risk of infection.

And don’t forget about a box of gloves. Even though you will frequently be washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, when you are cleaning a wound site and replacing the dressings, you will want to handle your wound care supplies with just as much care.

Prepared Meals

Making sure you have plenty of meals prepared for when you get back from the hospital is essential since you may not be up to cooking for the first several days after surgery. Prepping extra food when cooking in the weeks leading up to your surgery will help fill your freezer with easily accessible reheatable meals during recovery. You can also opt for prepared meals that come in a can or microwaveable container that similarly provide balanced nutrition, especially if you might have any trouble swallowing.

Certain surgeries, such as breast surgery, will limit your range of motion. It is wise to place items you will need out of the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets down to a more accessible level. Anything that is 5 lbs. or more should also be distributed into smaller, more manageable containers to not lift more than you should during your recovery.

In addition to your favorite healthy foods, have a few options on hand that are gentle on the stomach in case of irritation. You might feel nauseous after anesthesia or when using pain medications, so having items such as ginger ale, applesauce, bananas, rice, and crackers are foods that may have a calming effect on the stomach when you feel nauseous after surgery.

And always remember to stay hydrated! Keep plenty of fresh water around you at all times. The body heals quicker and better when it is adequately hydrated.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

It would be a wise decision to ask your doctor what prescriptions you will be required to take to get these filled in advance if possible. Some patients don’t need prescription pain relief and easily manage discomfort using over-the-counter options. Make sure you have ibuprofen and acetaminophen on hand, as these are potent medications that can enhance your comfort while you heal. Just make sure your doctor approves of these kinds of over-the-counter medications as sometimes they can interfere with the prescriptions or the healing process.

As we mentioned earlier, your surgeon may also recommend over-the-counter products to counteract constipation resulting from the pain medications. These may come in the form of powder, liquid, pills, or fiber intake. You can avoid discomfort by making sure you have these ready and available should the need arise.

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Don't Forget to Ask for Help

Make sure you have someone to help you around the house for the first few days. You can also hire a home health care service to help you with chores or small errands like prescription refills if necessary. In addition to the meals you ready prepped, friends and family can help cook some comfort foods to keep you well-stocked. It never hurts to ask for help, and you will be surprised how many will be more than willing.

As you prepare for plastic surgery, you may need to ask for help in the following ways:

  • Someone to drive you home on the day of your surgery
  • Someone you trust to stay with you for the first day or two
  • Help with your children, if you have young ones at home
  • Assistance cleaning up around the house or running quick errands
  • Someone to drive you to and from post-surgical appointments until you’re off pain medications and able to drive yourself

Recovery is often the most challenging part of the plastic surgery process, but with a little preparation and a bit of patience, you’ll soon be looking back at how quickly it all went. Take your time throughout the recovery process and allow your body to heal at its own pace gently. While there is no checklist that works to fit everyone’s personal preferences and doctor recommendations, this list of “must-haves” may be a great place to start.

For any questions about any of the products we offer that might help you with your plastic surgery recovery process, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist. Remember, recovery is a process. It takes time, patience, and everything you’ve got.

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The Importance of Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene has a wealth of benefits, including reducing your chances for illnesses, diseases, and infections. Plus, there is absolutely no risk for practicing good hygiene! The importance of hygiene can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it doesn’t have to be. Caring about your wellbeing should be one of the most important practices for a long, happy, and healthy life. We care about your wellbeing, so we are going to discuss some of the things you can do to maintain good hygiene and cleanliness.

How Good Hygiene Affects You

Practicing good hygiene is beneficial to your overall  physical and mental health and more than just being clean. Keeping your entire body clean from head to toe not only helps prevent illnesses and infections from harmful bacteria, but it can give your self-esteem a boost. We tend to feel better when we take care of ourselves. There are many personal hygiene habits to incorporate into your everyday routine to make sure you keep yourself and the environment around you hygienic.

Types of Personal Hygiene

Hand Hygiene

hand-washing hygiene in the kitchenWashing your hands is one of the easiest habits to practice to prevent the spread of germs to your eyes, mouth, food, as well as to those around you. Any time you handle food, garbage, pet an animal, sneeze, or use the restroom, you should wash your hands. Follow the 5-step rule for washing hands:

  1. Wet – Get your hands wet with clean water.
  2. Lather – Apply soap to your hands and work up a lather.
  3. Scrub – For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands.
  4. Rinse – With clean water, rinse your hands free of the soap lather.
  5. Dry – Use either a towel or air dry your hands.

If you do not have a water source, you can also choose to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Oral Hygiene

By brushing and flossing your teeth, you are helping to prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. You should practice brushing your teeth twice a day; once in the morning and once at night. Adding an antimicrobial mouthwash to your routine can also help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and prevent tooth decay. It is suggested to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months and visit a dentist for routine cleanings every 6 months.

Here is a handy infographic about brushing your teeth: Brushing-Your-Teeth

Nail Hygiene

woman painting her nails for maintaining nail hygieneKeeping your nails clean helps prevent the spread of germs into your mouth and other areas of the body. Trimming your nails regularly to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges or hangnails and using a nail file to smooth them keeps fingernails looking nice. Using a soft nail brush or washcloth can also help remove and rinse any dirt or buildup underneath the nail. Refraining from biting your nails and picking at the cuticles is necessary for good nail hygiene. If you use nail polish remover, try opting for an acetone-free formula.

Body/Skin/Hair Hygiene

Taking a shower or bath is essential to wash away dead skin cells, bacteria, and oils. The skin is the largest organ of the body and contains 2 layers. The thin outer layer is made up of dead skin cells that are constantly shed and replaced by new cells. The thick inner layer is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and hair follicles that contain glands. These glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which helps the skin and hair from drying out. Washing your body and hair daily removes dirt, oil, and those dead skin cells before they can accumulate. Make sure to pay attention to your armpits, groin, ears, elbows, back, and feet. All-in-one no-rinse alternatives such as the DermaRite 4-N-1 No-Rinse Wash are also handy for frequent cleansing.

Foot Hygiene

Fungal organisms love moisture, so keeping feet clean and dry will help prevent them from thriving. Our feet have sweat glands, too! Wear socks to trapping away moisture and make sure that your shoes fit properly. Trimming your toenails and using a nail file to smooth the edges helps to avoid ingrown toenails and allows you to check them for any infections, sores, or discoloration of the nails. Examining your feet is an important part of personal hygiene, especially if you have diabetes since it increases the risk of foot sores and infections.

Food Hygiene

male and female chefs preparing food in the kitchen In order to prevent food-borne illness, certain food safety practices are used when handling, preparing, and storing food. Spoiled or rotten food can smell, however not all harmful bacteria have a scent. Making sure to clean your hands before handling food, cooking food to the proper temperature, and storing food promptly are ways to practice good food hygiene. When using a cutting board, make sure to sanitize it after every use. Wooden and plastic cutting boards are porous and bacteria can lurk behind in grooves made by a knife. Keeping hair up and out of the face prevents it from landing in food and wearing an apron protects your clothing from coming in contact with the food.

Clothing Hygiene

Dirty clothes, especially socks and underwear, can harbor microorganisms that can lead to skin infections. Not washing your clothing can have an impact on your overall health. Body odor can arise from stains on clothing that bacteria accumulate on. Fungi and bacteria thrive in warm, moist, and dark environments, causing bad smells and other conditions such as athlete’s foot. Not only should you wash your clothes, but you also need to remember to wash your bathroom and kitchen towels regularly as well. To avoid cross-contamination, try not to share towels and clothing.

Side Effects of Poor Hygiene

Poor personal hygiene can have minor side effects, but can also lead to more serious ones. Here are just a few of the side effects from poor personal hygiene.

  • You can transfer germs and other harmful bacteria to your eyes and mouth by not washing your hands. Issues such as pink eye and stomach viruses happen as a result of not routinely washing your hands.
  • Not brushing your teeth regularly can lead to plaque buildup causing cavities, gum disease, and other teeth issues, not to mention bad breath. Some research has also shown a link between gum disease and heart disease.
  • You can get Athlete’s Foot if you often walk around barefoot, especially in public areas where infection can spread such as swimming pools, shower areas, and locker rooms. This is a contagious fungal infection that thrives in moist environments and can spread to the toenails and hands.
  • Body odor and greasy hair are also side effects of poor personal hygiene. Maintaining a good cleansing routine will help keep you looking and feeling fresh, giving you a sense of pride in your appearance. Those around you will appreciate it, too.
  • Bacteria breeds in unclean environments such as the kitchen and dining areas, therefore leading to contamination of food. It is imperative to wash your hands prior to preparing food to keep bacteria from entering our bodies. Make sure to clean up and properly store leftovers, taking note of expiration dates. You could end up with diarrhea or even food poisoning if food is not correctly handled.

Choosing the Right Personal Hygiene Products

Depending on the situation, there are many different kinds of personal hygiene products available for a variety of needs. Almost all toiletries and cleaning supplies come in multiple sizes and formulas. There are specific personal hygiene products on the market for those with limited mobility, are traveling, or do not have access to a water supply.

Rinse-free Body Washes

All-in-one body washes such as the ConvaTec Aloe Vesta Shampoo and Body Wash gently and effectively cleanses, conditions, and deodorizes when there is no accessible water source. These formulas serve the need of bed ridden patients and the elderly where rinsing is difficult. Most can be used anywhere on the body, including perineal areas since they are non-irritating and alcohol-free. This type of product is great for traveling and camping as well.

Personal Cleansing Wipes

Item #325521 Aloe Vesta Bathing ClothsPersonal cleansing wipes are great for the entire body. Since they come in convenient tubs or pouches, they are easy to transport on-the-go. You can quickly and conveniently use these personal wipes to cleanse your hands, as a facial wipe, to disinfect a surface, or even as a substitute for toilet paper. Look for wipes that are pH-balanced, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, and contain aloe to soothe the skin such as the ConvaTec Aloe Vesta Bathing Cloths. These wipes are large, easy-to-use, rinse-free, and disposable, making them a great choice for everyday use as well as for travel.

Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers act quickly to kill 99% of microorganisms on the hands and can be less irritating than soap and water. They are effective against both bacteria and viruses and come in a variety of sizes suitable for travel and larger group settings. Some even contain Vitamin E and Aloe to moisturize as they disinfect such as McKesson’s Premium Hand Sanitizer. In order for hand sanitizers to work effectively, make sure to choose one that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Bed Pads and Underpads

Item #7134 Covidien Simplicity Basic UnderpadProtecting your mattress, chair, car seat, and couch with a hygiene product like a bed pad or underpad can help trap leaks during the day and night if you suffer from incontinence. There are reusable protective bed pads such as the Birdseye Reusable Soaker Underpad and there are also disposable bed pads such as the Covidien Simplicity Basic Underpad. Reusable bad pads are typically more expensive and made of a washable material, but you may save more money long-term. On the other hand, disposable bed pads are meant for single-use, which means you will use more of them. Choosing a bed pad or underpad that has a waterproof outer edge and flaps to tuck in for security can help you feel comfortable and protected day or night. Did you know that you can also use bed pads and underpads for potty training pets?

Caring for yourself is good for both your physical health and your mental health. Maintaining a hygienic lifestyle is important to prevent and control illnesses. Getting into a good personal hygiene routine may be difficult for some and might take some patience and practice, but it is worth every effort. You should speak to your doctor if you are having a hard time adapting to good personal hygiene habits.

For any questions about the personal hygiene products we carry or need guidance on how to use them, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and happy to help.

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