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Gauze is a thin, translucent fabric with a loose open weave.
When used as a medical dressing, gauze is generally made of cotton. It is especially useful for dressing wounds where other fabrics might stick to the burn or laceration. Many modern medical gauzes are covered with a plastic porous film such as Telfa or a polyblend which prevents direct contact and further minimizes wound adhesion.
A bandage is a piece of material used either to support a medical device such as a dressing or splint, or on its own to provide support to or to restrict the movement of a part of the body. When used with a dressing, the dressing is applied directly on a wound, and a bandage used to hold the dressing in place. Other bandages are used without dressings, such as elastic bandages that are used to reduce swelling or provide support to a sprained ankle. Tight bandages can be used to slow blood flow to an extremity, such as when a leg or arm is bleeding heavily. The most common type of bandage is the gauze bandage, a simple woven strip of material, or a woven strip of material with a Telfa absorbent barrier to prevent adhering to wounds. A gauze bandage can come in any number of widths and lengths, and can be used for almost any bandage application, including holding a dressing in place.