Your Child's Recovery
After surgery, your child may feel tired. Your child will need to recover in a crib or bed for a few days. Let your child return to normal activities when your child seems ready or when your doctor says it is okay. This is usually in 2 or 3 days.
Your child may also have pain, swelling, or bruises in the groin area. Medicines can help with pain. Swelling or bruising should start to go away 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to make sure your child gets better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Let your child rest in bed for a few days. Sleeping will help him recover.
- Have your baby or toddler avoid doing any tumbling for a few days. Have your child avoid doing straddling activities, such as riding a tricycle or using a sit-on toy, for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Do not let your child do intense exercise, such as sports, running, or physical education at school, for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Your child may shower or have a sponge bath the day after surgery. Do not let him swim or have a bath for 5 to 7 days.
- Your child should be able to go back to school or day care in 2 or 3 days.
- Have your child drink plenty of fluids for the first 24 hours to avoid becoming dehydrated. Use clear fluids, such as water, apple juice, and flavored ice pops. Avoid hot drinks, soda pop, and citrus juices such as orange juice. These may cause more pain.
- When your child is ready to eat, start with foods that are easy to swallow. These include soft noodles, pudding, and dairy foods such as yogurt and ice cream. Canned or cooked fruit, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes are also good choices. Avoid giving your child steamy, hot, spicy, or hard and crunchy foods, such as chips or waffles.
- You may notice a change in your child's bowel habits right after surgery. This is common. If your child has not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, call your doctor.
- Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart his or her medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
- Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with his medicine.
- If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, see that your child takes it as prescribed.
- If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can give him an over-the-counter medicine.
- If you think the pain medicine is making your child sick to his stomach:
- Give him medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
- Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, be sure your child takes them as directed. Your child should not stop taking them just because he feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
- Always wash your hands before touching the incision area.
- If your child has strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
- Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.
- Keep the area clean and dry.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
- Your child has severe trouble breathing.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child has pain that does not get better after he takes pain medicine.
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has loose stitches, or his incision comes open.
- You find a spot of bleeding larger than a 2-inch circle from an incision.
- Your child has signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the incision.
- Pus draining from the incision.
- A fever.
- Your child's bruising is not getting better after 2 to 3 weeks.
- Your child has not returned to normal activities after 3 to 5 days.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any problems.
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