Don’t schedule surgery without reading this!

There's a lot to love about the approach of summer, but there's at least one thing you've got to worry about -- especially if you have surgery planned.

You could battle an infection!

New research shows how your risk of suffering one of these complications after an operation -- any operation at all -- rises with the mercury.

In February, your infection risk is 9 percent higher than it was in January... and by August, that risk is a full 21 percent higher.

After that, the risk starts dropping, declining a little bit every month until January, when the cycle starts all over again.

These infections aren't just irritations and inconveniences.

They're among the top causes of extended hospital stays and readmissions after surgery -- and those aren't even the worst of the risks at stake here.

An infection after your operation can be dangerous and, in some cases, absolutely deadly, especially if you end up locked in a battle with a superbug.

It's not exactly clear why the risk is higher in summer, but many germs just plain love heat and humidity.

An infection that might struggle to take hold in December could thrive in the muggy warmth of July or August.

So here are two steps that could help prevent a needless and potentially devastating infection if you have an operation planned for this summer.

First, ask yourself the most basic question of all: Do I really need this surgery?

If you do, then of course have the procedure -- and don't postpone it until a cooler month.

But you'd be surprised at how many operations are completely unnecessary and, in some cases, downright dangerous.

Just last month, for example, mainstream guidelines were updated to urge AGAINST the common knee surgeries done on two million older Americans every year.

They DON'T ease pain OR restore function, but they COULD lead to risks such as infections.

So, do a little homework and always get a second opinion.

Next, if you're certain that you do need surgery, take steps to cut your infection risk.

One unfortunate reason infections are so common in hospitals is basic poor hygiene. Make sure everyone who enters your room before, during, and after a procedure washes up before they come near you any time of year, but doubly so in summer.

In addition, give your immune system a boost with probiotics and other infection-fighting natural therapies so it has the power to wipe out any nasty bugs that come your way.