Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Acticoat Dressing

You are going home with an Acticoat dressing in place. This dressing allows your wound to heal and decreases the chance of infection. An Acticoat dressing has three layers: two outer mesh layers and an inner absorbent layer. The outer layers are coated with silver and help prevent bacteria from getting into your wound. The inner layer keeps your wound moist. You will need to change your dressing every 3 to 7 days.

You were shown the proper way to change your dressing at the hospital. If you are unsure how to change the dressing, ask for clarification before you are discharged. This sheet will help you remember those steps when you are at home.

Applying an Acticoat dressing

Remember to keep the dressing damp but not soaking wet. Use sterile water in a spray bottle to dampen the Acticoat at least once every 24 hours.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Clean and dry your wound with soap and water.

  • Remove the Acticoat from the package.

  • Use a clean pair of scissors to cut the Acticoat dressing to fit the shape of your burn or wound.

  • Wet the Acticoat with sterile water (don't use normal saline).

  • Place the Acticoat on the wound surface.

  • Cover the Acticoat with a gauze dressing.

  • Roll a gauze wrap loosely around the dressing to hold it in place.

  • Wrap toward your body. If you are wrapping your arm, start at your hand and wrap toward your shoulder.

  • As you wrap, overlap the previous layer of gauze by about ½ inch.

Removing an Acticoat dressing

In addition to changing the dressing every 3 to 7 days, you will also need to remove an Acticoat dressing if you have an MRI or a radiation treatment.

  • Start with washing your hands, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Moisten the Acticoat if it sticks to your wound when you change it. Moisten only with sterile water.

  • Remove the Acticoat very gently. Never pull hard or rip the dressing. You could damage the wound and slow your recovery time.

  • Dispose of waste materials in a plastic bag. Wash your hands again.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased redness, swelling, or warmth in the skin around the wound

  • Bad odor coming from the wound. Drainage from the wound that soaks the dressing or smells bad

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Chills

  • Increasing pain

  • Bleeding from the wound

  • Skin irritation, a lot of itching, or other signs of an allergic reaction

© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames by WebMD Ignite