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Can You Swim With Stitches?

Healing after surgery with stitches depends on your general health and the type of surgery you had. Large incisions can take up to eight weeks to properly heal – and if you have additional medical problems this can take even longer.

If the skin gets broken the wound provides germs with a direct entrance into the body, making it prone to infection. Infected stitches can be caused by bacteria, and the wound site will become inflamed and tender.

A frequently asked question is can you swim with stitches? Read on to find out more…

Preventative Medicine

Even for minor injuries, proper wound care can increase the speed of recovery. A cut that has been closed with stitches will start to heal within 48 hours with new skin starting to grow in two to three days.

Showering without submerging the wound can be done after 24 hours, but swimming with stitches at this time will delay wound healing on the outside. Oceans, lakes and rivers are also potential carriers of bacteria which at this stage could cause more problems.

Know Your Stitch Type

There are basically two types of stitches – strong permanent stitches that will need to be removed by a medical professional, and absorbable stitches that are taken up by the body over time. Swimming before these stitches are absorbed isn’t recommended.

Permanent stitches may be removed after seven to 10 days –absorbable stitches may take longer.

Swimming Following Surgery

Can you go swimming with stitches? You should really avoid this activity until stitches have been removed and the wound has fully healed as this decreases the risk of infection. Recommendations are that you don’t go swimming until:

  • Your GP or surgeon has confirmed that it’s safe
  • Your wound has healed sufficiently for you to do so
  • The wound is pain-free

Swimming Time Guidelines After Surgery

Depending on the type of surgery you have had you may need to avoid swimming for varying amounts of time. The following information is purely a guide and you should check with your healthcare professional before going swimming…

  • After having appendicitis – about two weeks following surgery when the stitches have been removed and the wound has completely healed
  • Cataract surgery – after four to six weeks you should be able to swim
  • Cornea transplant – avoid swimming for at least one month, and wear goggles to protect your eyes from any impact injuries – and do not dive
  • Hip replacement – eight to 12 weeks is normally the recovery time here – breaststroke is the style to avoid
  • Heart bypass surgery – you can start to swim after about three months

Swimming After-Care

To protect the wound site from infection or further injury it’s a good idea to cover it. Small areas can benefit from waterproof plasters or bandages. Keeping the site clean with antibacterial sprays or wipes, then drying it thoroughly will ensure the plaster has a good seal.

Waterproof plasters are flexible and often transparent. And as they’re durable and breathable they provide an extra healing property while the wound is covered. There are also wound pad features with antiseptic silver to protect the wound even more.

To begin with, spend the minimum amount of time with the wound submerged in water as possible – and after swimming, pat it dry with a clean towel, or let it air dry.

Relax and Enjoy

people snorkeling

Following your recovery why not arrange to go snorkelling in Cancun with Koox divers? You’ll get a professionally trained snorkel guide who makes sure your safety is a priority. And transportation to the pickup point and back is all included in the price. You’ll be taken to the clearest blue waters and be witness to stunning underwater marine life. The perfect end to your healing journey.