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What is a Gauze Bandage?

A gauze bandage is a versatile medical fabric, woven loosely to allow air to reach the skin or wound it covers, promoting healing. It's absorbent, yet prevents dressings from sticking to wounds. Gauze can be used to secure a dressing in place, control bleeding, or provide support to an injured area. Curious about its many uses and types? Let's unwrap the details together.
Janis Bennett
Janis Bennett

A gauze bandage is a thin, woven fabric material that is placed over a wound to keep it clean while allowing air to penetrate and promote healing. It can be used to secure a dressing in place, or it can be used directly on a wound. These bandages are the most common type and are available in many sizes. They are good for hard to reach areas that may be difficult to dress.

First aid kits usually contain a roll of gauze bandage, a few single gauze squares, bandage tape, anti-bacterial ointment, and other medical supplies to treat injuries. The bandages are very versatile and can cover a wound on just about any part of the body. They work well on burns, head injuries, and large lacerations that need more than a simple adhesive bandage. At home, one can be used to cover scrapes on the knees or elbows, or cuts on fingers and hands. In the hospital, medical professionals use them to cover surgical sites.

Roll of gauze bandage material.
Roll of gauze bandage material.

When using a roll of gauze, the end is pulled out and placed over a piece of wound dressing, such as a medicated pad of cotton. The gauze is then wrapped around the location of the wound. The ends of the bandage can be tied together or a piece of bandage tape can be used to secure them and keep the material in place. The bandage can be wrapped and tied tightly when compression is needed to control bleeding.

A gauze square.
A gauze square.

Individual pieces of gauze are also a common form of gauze bandage. A doctor or nurse may apply medicine to individual pieces before placing them directly onto a wound. When an adhesive bandage is too small to cover the entire laceration or it is in a hard to reach place, this material can be used. In these cases, bandage tape is usually used to keep the gauze in place.

First aid kits should contain gauze bandages.
First aid kits should contain gauze bandages.

Since a gauze bandage is made of woven fabric, it is air permeable and absorbent. These are good qualities to have in a bandage to promote wound healing. These same qualities can also lead to infections if the bandage is not changed regularly, however. A large, open, or infected wound will require more frequent dressing changes than a smaller, non-infected wound that is farther along in the healing process. The guidelines of a medical professional should be followed as to when and how to change bandages.

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Discussion Comments


I switched from bandaids to gauze on a deep cut on my finger. The gauze seemed to accelerate the healing of my wound. Unlike bandaids, gauze keeps the wound dry and allows oxygen to get to my wound.


@Perdido - You could pick a color for your gauze bandage? That's pretty cool, I've never heard of colored gauze before. I suppose it's just like all of those varieties of kids' bandages that come in different colors and patterns. It seems like everything's personalized these days, even our injuries.

On the other hand, if you've gotten hurt badly enough to need to cover the wound with gauze, you need some cheering up. Colorful gauze isn't too much to ask, I suppose.


@Oceana - I've been there, too -- you're right, having a cotton gauze bandage stuffed in your cheek doesn't feel quite right. However, imagine back when they put cotton balls in your mouth after going to the dentist.

I don't know about you, but the texture of cotton balls gives me the shivers -- I will literally break out in goosebumps even just thinking about it too much. With that in mind, I'm super grateful for gauze bandages being what dentists use now!


My dentist stuffed my mouth with gauze after he removed some of my teeth. I suppose this could have been considered a type of bandage, since it was used to stop bleeding from surgery.

The holes left by the teeth had to be packed with gauze. It was a funny texture to have in my mouth. It didn’t taste bad; it just seemed wrong to have something dry and non-flavored in there.

He told me I could remove the gauze that night. He also said that if the area was still bleeding, I needed to stuff it with fresh gauze. He gave me a roll of medical gauze to take home.


Stretch gauze bandages are great for injured legs. They allow you to flex without feeling constricted.

I got a nasty gash from a protruding metal object sticking out from the side of the house while I was mowing. I did not see it until it had cut into my calf.

I had to go to the emergency room. The had to sew me up, and then they wrapped the stretchy bandage around my calf. The nurse told me that I should still have good mobility, because the stretch gauze would move with me. Calf muscles are constantly contracting and relaxing with every leg movement, so this type of bandage was ideal for the area.


I wore a gauze bandage around my wrist after it got lacerated by a knife. I had been putting away the silverware, and the butcher knife fell on my wrist. It landed with such force and in such a way that it cut pretty deep into my skin.

After receiving some stitches, I got a hot pink gauze bandage for the area. The doctor told me to change the bandage every 2 days and apply the medicine he gave me to help it heal before putting on a fresh one. I liked the gauze, because it didn’t cause immense pain like a sticky bandage does when you rip it off an area that has hair.


Gauze helped my dog’s wound heal. She cut her paw pad open on something hidden under the snow. I discovered this when I saw the bright red drops on white.

We tried to apply pressure and wrapped a towel around it. The bleeding would not stop, so we went to the vet. She had to sedate my dog to stitch her up. After surgery, she wrapped up the paw in a gauze bandage.

She instructed us to change the bandage every three days and apply an antibiotic cream to the area before placing a new one around it. My dog didn’t seem to mind the gauze. It didn’t make her want to scratch or bite at it.

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    • Roll of gauze bandage material.
      By: rikaphoto
      Roll of gauze bandage material.
    • A gauze square.
      By: picsfive
      A gauze square.
    • First aid kits should contain gauze bandages.
      By: lucato
      First aid kits should contain gauze bandages.
    • Rolled gauze can be used to protect wounds and stem bleeding.
      By: Szabolcs Szekeres
      Rolled gauze can be used to protect wounds and stem bleeding.
    • Gauze bandages are sometimes used to secure sterile gauze pads in place over a wound.
      By: casanowe
      Gauze bandages are sometimes used to secure sterile gauze pads in place over a wound.