For caretakers and people with debilitating illness, bed sores can be a real pain in the butt. Bed sores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, can turn in to serious business requiring surgical debridement and intravenous antibiotics.
- Pressure sores are areas of injured skin and tissue. They are caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long which puts pressure on certain areas of the body.
- Deep sores can go down into the muscle, or even to the bone. If pressure sores are not treated properly, they can become infected.
- Pressure sores usually develop over bony parts of the body that don't have much fat to pad them, like the heels, the hips, and the base of the spine.
- There are three keys to healing pressure sores: relieving the pressure that caused the sore, treating the sore itself, and improving nutrition.
- Foam pads or pillows, special mattresses, mattress covers, foam wedges or seat cushions can help to reduce or relieve pressure.
- If you cannot move by yourself, have your caregiver shift your position at least every hour, or more often if possible.
- Ask your doctor for a referral for wound care if you develop a pressure sore. Better dressings now exist like hydrocolloid dressings (bandage made of a gel that molds to the pressure sore.)
- To prevent bed sores from occurring it is important to keep your skin healthy. Keep your skin clean and dry. Pay special attention to the pressure points where sores are most likely to occur.
- Dr O.