Open-wet dressings allow cooling by continuous evaporation of water. They are used to decrease redness, itching, burning and weeping of skin lesions. They will help to make you more comfortable because of their therapeutic effect. They should be done as frequently as prescribed by your physician.


  1. Cut the size of cotton sheeting (like white hankerchief, bed sheet or pillow case) to fit the area.
  2. Place cotton material in lukewarm or cool saline solution.
  3. Squeeze out excess water. Do not wring dry.
  4. Unravel sheeting and “snap” open.
  5. Cover red, itchy area with wet dressing – ONLY 1 (ONE) LAYER THICK.
  6. Allow to air dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not cover with a blanket.
  7. Your doctor will prescribe a topical solution to apply.
  8. Dressing should be done 3 – 4 times a day for them to be effective.
  9. You will feel quite cool; if enough areas of your body are being treated you may feel downright cold. If you are treating the entire body, try placing dressing on each side in turn.


  • Avoid nylon garments close to the skin, as they do not absorb moisture.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing.


If you are receiving radiation therapy to breasts:

  • Do not wear a bra.
  • Wear a cotton t-shirt instead (you will find this more comfortable. If you feel you must wear a bra, check with your nurse. She may suggest wearing a bra over the t-shirt.
  • You may wear a bra for special occasions.
  • Treat itching skin by keeping areas dry.
  • Apply cornstarch lightly.