Use the following guidelines if you decide to apply a bandage to
Think about bandaging the wound if you need to
protect it from getting dirty or irritated. Choose the bandage carefully. There
are many products available. Before you buy or use one, be sure to read the
label carefully and follow the label's instructions when you apply the
Clean the wound thoroughly before bandaging it to reduce
the risk of infection occurring under the bandage.
If you use a
cloth-like bandage, apply a clean bandage when it gets wet or soiled to further
help prevent infection. If a bandage is stuck to a scab, soak it in warm water
to soften the scab and make the bandage easier to remove. If available, use a
nonstick dressing. There are many bandage products available. Be sure to read
the product label for correct use.
signs of infection. If an infection develops under a
bandage, you may need a visit to your health professional.
a clean bandage when it gets wet or soiled to further help prevent infection.
If a bandage is stuck to a scab, soak it in warm water to soften the scab and
make the bandage easier to remove. If available, use a nonstick dressing. There
are many bandage products available. Be sure to read the product label for
Use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown to
affect healing. If you choose to use an antibiotic ointment, such as polymyxin
B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin, apply the ointment lightly
to the wound. The ointment will keep the bandage from sticking to the wound. Be
sure to read the product label about skin sensitivity. If a skin rash or
itching under the bandage develops, stop using the ointment. The rash may mean
an allergic reaction to the ointment. Antibiotic ointments that contain
neomycin may have an increased risk of causing an allergic
Use an adhesive strip to hold the edges of a wound
together. Always put an adhesive strip across a wound rather than lengthwise to
hold the edges together. A butterfly bandage (made at home or
purchased) can help hold the skin edges together.
Take the dressing
off and leave it off whenever you are sure the wound will not become irritated
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.