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Hydrocolloid

A hydrocolloid dressing is an opaque dressing that contains gel forming agents. These dressings have a water resistant outer layer. The dressing is applied to a cleaned wound. The moist conditions produced under the dressing are intended to promote wound healing by protecting the wound against bacteria and other contaminants. Hydrocolloid dressings are self adhering and available in many thicknesses and precut shapes. They don't adhere to the wound, only to the intact skin around the wound. The main advantage is the clinician's ability to cut the dressing into strips to fit individual wounds and also other areas that are hard to dress. These dressings are low profile and less bulky than traditional bandaging practices and are also very effective at drawing out splinters or gravel from the wound bed preventing the need for surgical intervention.

The dressings are flexible and smooth and therefore can be used for many different body areas. Hydrocolloid patches are also used for the treatment of eczema to provide a barrier against scratching. The patches themselves can sometimes be used on the face for treating acne. The dressings are intended for extended wear of up to three to seven days which minimally disrupts the healing process. It is recommended to change the dressing according to the manufacturer's guidelines. These dressings are appropriate for dry wounds. Some injuries suitable for treatment with this dressing include lacerations, skin tears and scalds to name a few.

Hydrocolloid dressings can promote the ability for self management as dressing changes can be performed by the patients themselves and allows a flexible option for those who lead busy lives. Another advantage is that patients can shower with the dressings in place.

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