How to avoid mistakes while recovering from surgery

ORLANDO, Florida – Going under the knife already has its risks, but not following the proper recovery procedure after surgery can be even riskier. 

Mistake No. 1 is staying in bed for too long. 

"Making sure that we get them up and walking around to avoid things like blood clots and pneumonia is critically important," says Dr. Scott Steele, of the Department of Colorectal Surgery, Cleveland Clinic.

As soon as the doctor has cleared you to move around, do it. A little physical activity also wakes up your gut. 

"Their bellies are able to wake up faster, they feel better faster and they're able to get home sooner," Steele said.

But also make sure you're not doing too much too soon. If the doctor clears you to walk a little every day, that may not necessarily mean that you can start lifting 30-pound boxes. 

Pay attention to the doctor's do's and don'ts. If you overdo it, it may set you back in your recovery. 

One final mistake to avoid is not taking your medications as prescribed. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 percent of prescriptions are never filled and 50 percent are not taken as prescribed. Staying on top of your meds during recovery will keep you out of the hospital and your recovery on track. 

Another thing to be careful of is getting behind the wheel after surgery. Your reaction time may be slower, which can get you into an accident. So don't drive until your doctor has cleared you.