Bandage Change

Your healthcare provider will give you instructions on how to care for your bandage. Here are some general guidelines.

If the bandage becomes wet or dirty, replace it. Otherwise, leave it in place for the first 24 hours. Then once a day:

  • Remove the bandage and wash the area with soap and water. Use a wet cotton swab to loosen and remove any blood or crust that forms on the wound.

  • After cleaning, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment or cream if advised by your healthcare provider. Put a new bandage on.

You can shower as normal after the first 24 hours. If the bandage is on an arm or leg, cover it with a plastic bag rubber-banded at both ends before showering. Take care that the rubber bands are not too tight, cutting off circulation to the affected area. If the area is not on an arm or leg and can't be covered with a bag, then don't shower or take a bath. Take a sponge bath instead until the wound is healed.

Don’t take a tub bath or go swimming until the bandage is removed and the wound is healed. This will take at least 7 days.

When to get medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur with your wound:

  • Fever

  • Redness, warmth, or swelling

  • Pain in the wound gets worse

  • Bad smell from the wound

  • Pus drains when you remove the bandage

  • Red streaks surround the wound area

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