About Gauze

Gauze is a type of fabric that is particularly well-suited for first aid dressings because it is absorbent and breathable. Folded into squares, the layers made are referred to as “ply.” The higher the “ply,” the thicker the layers made from the square. Gauze is available in a variety of styles and sizes depending on the wound or injury.

Although usually not required for minor cuts and lacerations, if your loved one has deep wounds such as leg ulcers or pressure ulcers, damaged skin, or other injury-cased wounds, using gauze can benefit in a variety of ways:

  • Shields the wound from potentially hazardous microorganisms.
  • Keeps the wound clean and free from infection.
  • Absorbs excess blood and body fluids, making dressing removal and replacement less painful.

Acting as a primary dressing held in place by medical tape, gauze provides fast wicking action, superior aeration, and excellent absorbency. Cleaning and changing wound dressings at regular intervals will help your loved one heal faster and stay healthy.

Consider having these options on hand to make dressing changes easy:

  • Gauze Sponges and Gauze pads - Used interchangeably; available in sterile and non-sterile options.
  • Sterile - Used in the treatment of open wounds and are ideal for cleaning or covering wounds that are susceptible to infection.
  • Non-sterile - Ideal for applying ointments, prepping the wound site, wiping needles, cleaning slides and more; used for cushioning bruises or other types of closed wounds.
  • Abdominal Pads - Made of highly absorbent, fast wicking fabric that promotes a drier wound site. Super absorbent to help reduce infections and decrease dressing changes; available in sterile or non-sterile options.
  • Drain Sponges - Used to absorb fluids from wound sites and other areas where undesirable liquified debris must be removed; Offers easy application around drains, chest tubes, catheters, tracheotomies, and I.V.s.
  • Gauze Rolls - Helpful for cuts or wounds that require moderate compression; also used for securing IV catheters.
  • Wound Packing Strips - Designed for nasal packing, dental packing or as packing for open or infected wounds.
  • Cast Padding - Helps to create a smooth and comfortable surface under a cast; protects the skin from the hard edges of the cast material.
  • Gauze Bandages - Adds loft and bulk for added cushioning and wound protection; can be used as a primary or secondary dressing.


What is gauze used for in first aid?

Gauze can be used to clean wounds and to apply pressure to a wound, as well as hold a dressing in place. Most gauzes are also semi-absorbent and can absorb wound drainage.

How do I apply gauze bandaging?

Cut the gauze to the desired size using scissors and place the center of the gauze over the wound. Wrap the gauze around the wound, making sure to not wrap it too tightly. Tie the ends of the gauze together.

What is the difference between sterile gauze and non sterile?

Sterile gauze:

  • Used to clean or cover wounds that are susceptible to infection.
  • Wicks away wound drainage while keeping the site protected and clean.
  • Packaged in individual wrappers and is intended for one-time use.
  • Sterile gauze is usually made of a finer material than non-sterile gauze so that it can more easily enter small cuts and scrapes.
  • Generally more expensive than non-sterile. If you are not having to change a dressing on an open wound, purchasing non-sterile pads may be a more cost-effective choice.

If you must place the gauze before applying it to the wound, do so solely on top of a new sterile drape. When a sterile dressing comes into contact with a non-sterile surface, it loses its sterility.

Non-sterile gauze:

  • Used for general cleaning or wrapping.
  • Multiple use times.
  • Used more often to treat closed wounds.
  • Provide cushioning support as well as coverage to a bruise or related wound.

What is non-sterile gauze used for?

Non-sterile gauze is a type of medical gauze that is not treated with any type of antiseptic or sterilization process. It is typically used for wound dressings, packing wounds, or absorbing exudate. Non-sterile gauze is available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, rayon, and polyester.

What is an abdominal pad used for?

Abdominal pads are an extra thick primary or secondary dressing designed to care for moderate to heavily draining wounds.

What is ply in gauze?

“Ply” refers to the number of layers created by folding the gauze pad. The higher the ply, the more layers there are which means thicker gauze.

What is first aid care for wounds?

Wound care is the process of cleaning, protecting, and treating a wound. It is important to clean a wound as soon as possible to prevent infection. To clean, use a mild soap and warm water. Gently clean the wound and remove any dirt, debris, or dead tissue.

Once the wound is clean, it is important to protect it from further injury. You can do this by covering the wound with a sterile bandage. Be sure to change the bandage regularly.

If the wound is more than a few days old, it is important to treat it to promote healing. This can be done by applying a topical antibiotic ointment to the wound. You can also use wound dressings to keep the wound moist and protected.

See a doctor if your wound:

  • Is deep or is not healing.
  • Increases in redness.
  • Continues to swell.
  • Causes pain to increase or the wound site stays tender.
  • Promotes drainage in a white, off-white, or green-ish color.
  • Begins to change to unpleasant odors.
  • Is accompanied by fever.

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