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Wound healing progresses most rapidly in an environment that is clean, moist (but not wet), insulated, and protected from trauma and bacterial invasion. Selection of a dressing is based on specific wound characteristics: (1) the presence or absence of necrotic tissue, (2) bacterial load, (3) exudate volume, and (4) need for a bacterial barrier. Therefore, the optimal dressing should be able to control exudate without desiccating the wound surface; act as a bacterial barrier; allow atraumatic removal with no dressing left in the wound; and provide moisture vapor permeability sufficient to prevent overhydration of the wound and surrounding skin. There are a multitude of dressings on the market, and clinicians are frequently confused as to which type of dressing is the best for a particular wound. Effective dressing selection requires both accurate wound assessment and current knowledge of available dressings. The articles in the current supplement to the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing review research about wound exudate management and the use of foam dressings.