Most of us who undergo surgery return from the hospital with some sort of wound. Be it a drain, temporary or permanent ostomy, or an incision that is still “seeping”; these can be quite troublesome to deal with, especially for those with sensitive skin.
The surgeon should always be consulted and his/her advice followed. While healing, or if the wound is permanent, the issue is how to keep the patient’s clothing and bedding clean and dry.
If the skin is very sensitive, oversized white cotton t-shirts make good night garments, without the need for additional dressings that can adhere to and irritate the skin. Try to avoid clothing with elastic pieces that can touch the wound or drain.
Sleeping with disposable pads underneath the body can prevent soiling of the bed linens. Use white sheets that can be bleached and softened as needed. White, soft, loosely woven cotton blankets are available in many department stores, as well as on-line from several distributors. These can be cut in half and bound so they will be easier to handle, wash often, etc. Also, cotton holds up better to bleaching than other fibers.
Many laundry detergents are effective at releasing stains. Tide is advertised as containing enzymes that help to clean soiled clothing and bedding. If the patient develops redness or itching after using a new detergent or fabric softener, discontinue the new product immediately, as it is very likely the cause. Using the washing machine’s extra rinse cycle can also reduce the chance of irritation when combined with unscented laundry products.
With a bit of planning and care, and by working with your surgeon, you can be more comfortable and keep your post-operative wounds clean. We want you healing as soon as possible!