If you’re bedridden or confined to a wheelchair, you have a higher risk of developing bedsores. Bedsores are injuries that develop because of prolonged periods of immobility. They are usually painful, and they can cause infections and spread to other areas of the body if left untreated. Don’t worry, though, because there are a lot of natural treatments available. Keep reading to learn more!
What are Bedsores?
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Medically known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, bedsores are small wounds on the skin and underlying tissue that result from prolonged pressure or friction on the skin. It can affect people who spend a long time in one position, such as those who suffer from paralysis, frailty, old age or another illness. These sores can be found all over the body, but the ankles, coccyx, heels, knees and elbows are more prone.
The good news is, bedsores are treatable. However, if left untreated or treated to late, they can become fatal. It’s important to be careful, because they can quickly develop, and some may never heal at all. This article will lay out the proper steps to take to help prevent and treat them.
Stages of Bedsores
Pressure sores develop in four different stages:
- In the first stage, the skin gets red and feels warm to the touch. Often, it’s also itchy.
- The second stage will be marked by the appearance of open sores or blisters with discolouration around them.
- The third stage shows the development of crater-like skin, mostly due to tissue damage underneath the surface of the skin.
- The fourth stage is severe damage to the skin and tissue. The tendons, bones and muscles may also be visible in this particular stage.
Causes of Bedsores
Those who stay in one place for a long period of time, and those who can’t change their position without asking for help, are at risk of developing bedsores. The ulcers can develop and progress quickly, and they may be hard to heal.
So why does this happen? Sustained pressure cuts off circulation to some parts of the body. Without a sufficient supply of blood, the tissues may die. Causes may include:
- Friction. For some patients, especially those who have poor circulation, frail skin and are thin, moving may damage the skin. This increases the risk of bedsores.
- Continuous pressure. If there is pressure on the skin on one side, and bone on the other side, the skin might get pinched and the underlying tissue won’t get enough blood.
Symptoms of Bedsores
The warning signs and symptoms of the condition may include:
- Tender areas.
- One area of the skin that feels warmer or cooler to the touch than others.
- Pus-like draining.
- Swelling of the skin.
- Unusual changes in the skin’s texture and color.
Treatments for Bedsores
Here are some of the most beneficial treatments for bedsores:
- Saline water. Saline solution is a natural antiseptic, which is essential in disinfecting the pressure sores in a gentle manner.
- Epsom salt. Epsom salt exhibits astounding anti-inflammatory properties, which are capable of restoring the pH levels of the skin and helping heal pressure sores much faster.
- Vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar imparts antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that are essential in treating the condition.
- Petroleum jelly. The jelly forms a protective layer over the sores and helps prevent infection. This makes the wound heal much quicker.
- Egg whites. The tissue regeneration properties of egg whites help regenerate scarred tissues.
- Vitamin C. This has powerful antioxidant properties which speed up the healing process of the wounds.
- Rubbing alcohol. This sanitizes the bedsores and helps them heal.
Tips to Prevent Bedsores
Here are some preventive measures for bedsores:
- Inspect the skin daily for signs of pressure sores.
- Change your bedding and clothing every day to prevent any infections.
- Protect the skin and keep it well-moisturized.
- Always clean the skin and keep it dry.
- If you have enough upper body strength, do some push-ups while sitting down.
- If you’re bedridden, keep shifting your weight around.