Pharmaceutical products for wounds1 are hardly ever applied alone, and dressings are at least as important for healing.2 An ideal dressing protects the wound physically, keeps it warm and moist, assists the removal of exudate and dead tissue, encourages healing and reduces the likelihood of infection. Different types of wound require different types of dressing (see box). Physical and physico-chemical properties are much more important than chemical reactivity. Common policies are needed for the use of wound dressings in hospital and in the community.
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