The area around a wound must be kept clean and reasonably moist. When the dressings are dirty, they need to be replaced promptly. Leaving bandages on too long can slow the healing process and encourage infection. Replace any dressing when fluids soak through. This is called bleed-through and ideally, bandages should be changed before this occurs. Bleed-through increases the danger that a bandage will adhere to the wound. When this happens, soak the dressings and coax it off gently. The frequency of dressing changes depends on the wounds and the dressings applied. Talk with your doctor or nurse to familiarize yourself with the correct treatment protocols.