Patient Guide for Applying Aquacel Extra and Aquacel Ag Extra
Aquacel Dressing: Tips for Use
You will need to wash your hands with soap and water. This is to make sure your hands are clean and free of dirt and contaminants. The next step is to clean the wound with a wound cleanser. This is not the same as cleaning the wound with regular soap and water. A wound cleanser like CarraKlenz is specially designed to clean debris from the wound bed. CarraKlenz is a dermal wound cleanser and it promotes a moist wound environment which helps the healing process.
Aquacel AG Dressing Instructions:
Note: All wound care should be overseen by a medical professional. If you have any questions about your wound, you should seek proper medical care. This information is meant for educational purposes and to help you ask your doctor better questions to help you get the best care.
Shallow wounds – The dressing should overlap the complete wound area by ½ inch because Aquacel will shrink as it absorbs the wound fluid and begins to gel.
Deep wounds – Deep wounds may require the use of a wound packing gauze. If that is the case, then make sure you leave at least 1 inch of the gauze strip outside of the wound for easy removal. If you are using the AQUACEL Ag Ribbon Dressing with Strengthening Fiber, then you should only fill the dressing into deep wounds up to 80% because the wound packing gauze will swell as it absorbs the wound fluid. Always check with your doctor to make sure you are using your medical supplies as directed and as needed.
Apply a secondary dressing to hold the Aquacel in place – Aquacel Extra and Aquacel AG do not have an adhesive border surrounding the wound dressing so you will need another dressing to cover them and hold them in place. It is important that you use an adhesive dressing that keeps the wound moist such as ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal which is specifically designed to hold Aquacel dressings in place. DuoDerm Signal is an adhesive, tapered edge, hydrocolloid wound dressing that signals you when the bandage has absorbed an excess of fluid. The indicator line will alert you when a dressing change is necessary. The adhesive and the outer film are permeable by moisture vapor and provide an occlusive barrier against bacteria, viruses, dirt, and water. If you are covering the Aquacel with medical gauze change the gauze when you see wound fluid through the outer layer.
When to Change Aquacel Wound Dressings – The dressing may need to be changed every 2 to 3 days to start, Aquacel can be left in place for up to 7 days, however it will need to be changed when medically needed. As the wound closes and the exudate/fluid becomes less the dressing will be able to stay in place longer. The dressing should be changed when it is saturated with wound fluid or when the edges of the dressing start to curl up or bunch up into itself. If the wound dressing is leaking, if you are seeing more blood, if there is increased pain then you should change the dressing and inspect the wound. Wounds need to be inspected frequently. If there are any residual bits of dressing, then you will need to irrigate the wound with wound cleanser. If the dressing becomes hard and dry making it hard to remove, then you can moisten the dressing with sterile saline or sterile water until the dressing lifts from the wound easily. This may take several minutes however it is a needed step. You should not use tap water or bottled water on a wound.
When to call your doctor or medical provider:
Signs of Wound Infection:
- Excessive drainage that has changed in color or consistency
- Redness surrounding the wound, specially if the area of redness grows
- Warmth around the wound
- Increased pain or tenderness
- Unusual odor
- Sudden spike in glucose levels in a person with diabetes
It is important to remember that you can always call your doctor with questions about your personal healthcare. Your medical team is invested in your care and they want your wound to heal well. Signs of infection should never be ignored. If you have any doubt about your wound discharge or if what you are seeing, or smelling is normal, you should call them and ask. Wounds can become infected but with the proper wound dressings and care they can heal cleanly.
There are some differences between these two wound dressings by Convatec. The first and most obvious is that the Aquacel AG Extra is impregnated with 1.2% ionic silver and the Aquacel Extra is not. What is the silver for? The ionic silver supports wound healing and helps fight infection, decreases pain, and helps keep exudate in check. Aquacel AG Extra with ionic silver kills a broad spectrum of wound-related bacteria and yeasts. AG Extra is 9 times stronger and has 50% greater absorbency. But, both dressings are powered by hydrofiber technology so they both are designed to support wound healing. Aquacel has strengthening fibers which locks in wound fluid and exudate inside of the fiber itself. The fibers of the dressing swell and form micro contours, so each part of the wound bed is covered by the bandage. To make Aquacel into a stronger bandage, Convatec has placed horizontal strengthening fibers across the wound dressing and then placed a second hydrofiber sheet over the top for even greater absorption. The two sheets are stitch bonded for extra durability. Aquacel AG can be cut in any direction which means it can fit even odd shaped wounds without waste. Make sure you are using sterilized scissors to cut the dressing. You don't want to contaminate the dressing by using craft scissors.