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Proper care of a wound is necessary for rapid recovery and also to control the infection. Wound care dressings are an essential part of the treatment of wounds. There are several types of dressings. The best alternative depends on the nature of the wound. Dressings are designed to be in direct contact with the wound.
Hydrocolloid dressings are similar to an opaque, flexible wafer that adheres to the skin. The polymers contained within the dressing absorb the fluid within the wound and swell. The dressing needs to be applied every 3-7 days.
Hydrogel is recommended for wounds with little or no excess fluid. They are made up of about 90 percent water that is suspended in a gel base. They provide moisture to assist the wound with healing.
The gel provides a cushion for filling up deeper incisions of the wound and assists in speeding up the healing process. Hydrogels are used for the dressing of pressure ulcers, donor sites, and second-degree burns.
Alginate dressings contain sodium and calcium fibers derived from seaweed. They can absorb fluids up to 20 times their own weight and are therefore recommended for ulcers and other wounds that require adequate drainage. They absorb the excess fluids secreted by the wound and transform it to a gel-like consistency. The dressing inhibits the growth of infections by cleaning out the wounds. By providing adequate moisture, they aid the healing process. Alginate dressings are used for venous ulcers, packing wounds and pressure ulcers in stage III or IV.
Collagen dressings are derived from animals such as cattle, horses or pigs. The dressing promotes the growth of new collagen at the wound site and can also promote fibroblast production. They contain antimicrobial agents to prevent the spread of infections.
Collagen dressings come in several forms including gel, powder, paste and freeze-dried sheet.
Depending on the type of wound, collagen dressings should be changed every seven days to remain effective. Collagen dressings can be used for chronic or stalled wounds, ulcers, bed sores, transplant sites, surgical wounds, second degree or higher burns.
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