What is a Bedsore?
Bedsores or pressure ulcers are areas of damaged skin and tissue that develop when sustained pressure cuts off circulation to vulnerable parts of your body, especially the skin on your buttocks, hips and heels.
Bedsores are most common with seniors for those who are bedridden, uses a wheelchair or is unable to change positions without help can develop bedsores. Bedsores can develop quickly, rapidly and often difficult to heal.
Four Stages of Bedsores
Stage I: A pressure sore begins as a persistent area of red skin that may itch or hurt and feel warm and spongy or firm to the touch.
Stage II: Skin loss has occured, either in the outermost layer of skinor in the skin’s deeper layer. The wound is now an open sore that looks like a blister or an abrasion.
Stage III: By the time a pressure ulcer reaches this stage, the damage has now spread to the tissue below the skin, creating a deep, crater like wound.
Stage IV: This is the most serious and advance stage. A large amount of skin loss occurs, along with damage to underlying muscle, bone and even joints.
How to treat Bedsores
Treating bedsores can be a bit challenging. Below are a couple of steps to prevent bedsores from getting worse. It may take some time to heal but with most Stage I and Stage II sores should heal within weeks. Stage III and Stage IV more likely will need surgery.
Change positions often. Carefully follow your schedule for turning and repositioning aprpoximately every 15 minutes if you’re in a wheelchair and at least once every two hours when you’re in bed.
Use support surfaces. Use special cushions, pads, mattresses and beds that relieve pressure on an existing sore to protect vulnerable areas.
Cleaning. It’s essential to keep wounds clean to prevent infection.
Removal of damaged tissue. To heal properly, wounds need to be free or damaged, dead or infected tissue.
Dressings. A variety of dressings are used to help protect wounds and speed healing the type usually depends on the stage and severity of the wound.
Hydrotherapy. Whirlpool baths can aid healing by keeping skin clean and naturally removing dead or contaminated tissue.
Oral antibiotics. If pressure sores appear infected, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.
Healthy diet. Eating a nutritionally rich diet with adequate calories and protein and a full range of vitamins and minerals especially vitamin C and zinc may improve wound healing.
Muscle spasm relief. This is essential for both preventing and treating pressure sores. Your doctor may recommend skeletal muscle relaxants that block nerve reflexes in your spine or in the muscle cells themselves.
Information provided by Mayo Clinic.