Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are caused by limited blood supply to areas of the body that have pressure on them consistently. This will eventually cause the skin to break down and can cause anything from a simple red, sore area on the surface of the skin to open sores that develop into muscle, joints, and even tendons. If these bedsores are left untreated, it can lead to some scary complications. Surgery may become required for successful treatment along with amputations if the sore develops an infection.
Luckily for us, bed sores are not only easily treatable (in early stages) but also highly preventable. You can prevent bed sores if you learn the proper practices of treating bed sores. There are a number of different ways and tools that you can use to prevent and heal sores but it will take commitment to developing and executing a routine care regimen that’s appropriate for the patient.
Clean and Dry:
● The first way is to keep the skin clear and dry. If you are bedridden or even wheelchair-ridden you will need to have frequent sponge baths in order to keep yourself clean. You will most likely need someone’s help to reach some parts of your body. After you are clean, pat dry with a towel but make sure not to scrub because that can irritate the skin.
● You will want to change positions every couple hours to shift the pressure onto different points of your body. If you have been laying on your side for a couple hours you should try switching to your back or the other side. If you are unable to shift yourself on your own you can employ the help of a caregiver or family member.
Protect Vulnerable Locations:
● You can use pillows to relieve pressure on any body part that presses against one another. If you are laying on your side you can place a pillow between your knees and another one between your ankles. If you are on your back you can put one under your tailbone, between your elbows and ribs, under your shoulders, and under your heels. This will provide a cushion and relieve some of the pressure.
Circulate Blood Flow:
● Doing simple exercises can also help prevent bed sores. You can do them even if you are not able to get out of bed. Lift each arm and holding it up for ten seconds and then release it. If possible, also do it with your legs. This will relieve some pressure as well as increase blood flow.
Bed sores can develop quicker than you think, which means that it is a good thing to do all of these things daily to do your best to avoid getting them. In the event that bed sores do develop they are treatable but it can take several weeks to months to heal and it is a long and painful process. They can even get infected so proper care is extremely pertinent. In cases that they don’t heal they can even require surgery to reverse them. It takes a lot of work to prevent bed sores and oftentimes you will need help but it is well worth it when you look at the big picture.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.