Pressure ulcer prevention

A pressure ulcer has also been referred to as a bedsore. That is because it is very common for those who are bed-ridden or confined to a wheelchair to form sores from being in one position for too long. When a pressure ulcer or bedsore forms it is because a person has not been able to shift their weight from one pressure point to another. Having too much weight applied to one area of the body for too long causes the blood supply to leave the area of the skin and the tissue begins to die. A sore will then develop. This can happen to those who are only confined to the bed for a short amount of time or those who are bed-ridden permanently. It does not take long for a sore to develop if there is no one to help the person shift their weight often.

When a pressure ulcer first begins, it starts out as a red spot on the skin. Within a short amount of time a blister will develop. The blister will eventually turn into an open sore and a crater in the tissue will ultimately form. There are some main areas of the body that are generally affected by pressure ulcers. The pressure points of the body that are the weight baring areas include the hips, back, shoulders, head, elbows, ankles and heels. These areas tend to have thinner skin and that allows the sores to form more quickly.

For pressure ulcer prevention it is important to shift your weight frequently. If a person is unable to do this on their own it may be necessary to have help by a loved one or a medical professional. The most important thing is to keep pressure off of the areas that are beginning to show signs of redness or ulcers. In order to do this, cushions, pillows, or blankets may be used to prop under the area to lesson the friction between the skin and the bed. Use powder on the skin or on the bed in order to keep the skin from sticking to the sheets if a person sweats.

If a pressure ulcer has already formed it will be necessary to have the area treated appropriately. Keeping the area clean and dry is important for the healing process. Usually rinsing the area in a salt water solution can help remove some of the dead skin tissue and help promote healing. There are special dressings made to be used for pressure ulcers that help protect the skin and they should be used to prevent further infection and to prevent the skin from rubbing on the bed. Depending on the severity of the sore, your doctor or nurse may prescribe antibiotics or antibiotic ointment to apply to the area to prevent the infection from worsening. If a pressure ulcer gets too bad it can cause damage to the underlying tissues, muscles, ligaments and joints. This is why it is very important to start treatment of a pressure ulcer as soon as it is noticed or felt. Once an infection has set in it could possibly spread to the blood causing a person to fall very ill.

Make sure to let your doctor know if you are developing a pressure ulcer so they can monitor the situation closely. If you notice a foul odor, extreme redness of the skin or if the skin around the ulcer is swollen or hot to the touch it most likely indicates the beginning of an infection. Preventing pressure ulcers may be tricky but if done right it can save you a lot of pain and discomfort.

Last updated on May 29th, 2010 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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