Dressing Change

ExitCare ImageA dressing is a material placed over wounds. It keeps the wound clean, dry, and protected from further injury.


  • Get your supplies together. Things you may need include:

  • Salt solution (saline).

  • Flexible gauze bandage.

  • Medicated cream.

  • Tape.

  • Gloves.

  • Belly (abdominal) pads.

  • Gauze squares.

  • Plastic bags.

  • Take pain medicine 30 minutes before the bandage change if you need it.

  • Take a shower before you do the first bandage change of the day. Put plastic wrap or a bag over the dressing.


  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Dry your hands with a clean towel.

  • Put on your gloves.

  • Remove any tape.

  • Remove the old bandage as told. If it sticks, put a small amount of warm water on it to loosen the bandage.

  • Remove any gauze or packing tape in your wound.

  • Take off your gloves.

  • Put the gloves, tape, gauze, or any packing tape in a plastic bag.


  • Open the supplies.

  • Take the cap off the salt solution.

  • Open the gauze. Leave the gauze on the inside of the package.

  • Put on your gloves.

  • Clean your wound as told by your doctor.

  • Keep your wound dry if your doctor told you to do so.

  • Your doctor may tell you to do one or more of the following:

  • Pick up the gauze. Pour the salt solution over the gauze. Squeeze out the extra salt solution.

  • Put medicated cream or other medicine on your wound.

  • Put solution soaked gauze only in your wound, not on the skin around it.

  • Pack your wound loosely.

  • Put dry gauze on your wound.

  • Put belly pads over the dry gauze if your bandages soak through.

  • Tape the bandage in place so it will not fall off. Do not wrap the tape all the way around your arm or leg.

  • Wrap the bandage with the flexibe gauze bandage as told by your doctor.

  • Take off your gloves. Put them in the plastic bag with the old bandage. Tie the bag shut and throw it away.

  • Keep the bandage clean and dry.

  • Wash your hands.


  • Your skin around the wound looks red.

  • Your wound feels more tender or sore.

  • You see yellowish-white fluid (pus) in the wound.

  • Your wound smells bad.

  • You have a fever.

  • Your skin around the wound has a red rash that itches and burns.

  • You see black or yellow skin in your wound that was not there before.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous), throw up (vomit), and feel very tired.