What is a primary dressing?
A primary wound dressing is the piece of gauze or material that is placed directly on top of the wound itself. It may have anti-bacterial ointment or some kind of medication on it, for example to stop bleeding. It may also be wet in order to keep the wound from drying out.
It is very important that the primary dressing be kept clean and free of dirt and debris. Most of the time primary dressings need to be changed. This can be very painful as many times the wound has dried to the dressing. Sometimes putting some saline on the dressing before taking it off can moisten the skin and help to relieve some of the pain when removing it. It also needs to be removed very slowly.
The secondary dressing is what holds the primary dressing in place. An example would be tape.
A primary dressing is the first dressing that covers a wound. It is placed directly on top of the wound to cover it and to manage any oozing or bleeding. A secondary dressing covers the primary dressing (i.e. tape, gauze, etc). The primary dressing's purpose is to be absorbent and nonadhering. It is there to keep the wound clean and from debris. Many primary dressings contain some type of antibiotic or wound care medicine.