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If you have experienced an injury, illness, or surgery, chances are you’re hoping for a quick recovery. For some, the only thing needed to ensure the recovery process goes smoothly is to follow the discharge instructions. For others, healing may take longer, requiring more diligence and effort.

While the healing process is sometimes out of your control, there also are many things that you can do to speed up your recovery. Here are some things you can do that should help you recover more quickly.

1. Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions

It’s tempting for some patients to follow some post-surgical instructions and discard others – particularly those that they think don’t apply to them. But there are good reasons behind even the simplest instructions – such as taking no baths or not driving. Even if you feel much better, your body may still be healing internally.

2. Monitor Your Diet

When you don’t feel well, you can be tempted to indulge in your favorite comfort foods. Eating and drinking healthy foods, however, can help you to heal faster. Certain foods may help ease fatigue and improve the recovery process, such as foods that contain protein, vitamin C, vitamin B12, iron, fiber, and probiotics. Other foods, particularly those high in carbohydrates and sugar, cause inflammation and prolong the healing process.

3. Always Attend Follow-Up Appointments

Even if you feel better, it’s still important to attend post-op visits with your physician. Your doctor can catch hidden signs that you may not be healing properly and catch potential problems throughout your recovery process.

4. Take Your Medications

Your physician prescribes medications for a reason. Make sure that you follow the prescription’s protocol and don’t stop taking medication earlier than instructed. It’s especially important to take antibiotics exactly as your doctor instructs you to.

5. Wash Your Hands

Preventing infection is vital to ensuring a safe recovery. Make sure to always wash your hands before touching your incision. Additionally, wash your hands regularly throughout the day to avoid catching a virus or bacterial infection while your immune system is compromised.

6. Monitor Your Incision

With some procedures, you should inspect your incision several times a day. Watch for changes in color, drainage, and whether the stitches and staples are intact.

7. Get Moving

Your physician will likely advise you to walk as soon as you’re able following surgery. Walking prevents blood clots, gets the bowels moving, and helps prevent other complications such as deep vein thrombosis and pneumonia. Even a short walk every hour or two decreases the likelihood of post-op health issues.

8. Don’t Overdo It

While it’s important to get moving as soon as possible during recovery, you also want to be careful not to do too much, too soon. Pushing yourself too hard could cause you to injure yourself or slow your recovery. Overexerting yourself can even lead to falls, which could be detrimental to your health.

Falls are the leading cause of severe injury in older adults. They are particularly dangerous to seniors recovering from a surgery, illness, or previous injury. Download our free Fall Prevention Guide for easy tips to avoid falling in your home.