What you need to know about pressure sores
What are pressure sores?
Pressure sores (also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers) are areas of damaged skin caused by staying in one position for too long. This reduces blood flow to the area. Without enough blood, the skin can die and a sore may form. They commonly form where your bones are close to your skin, such as tailbone, ankles, back, elbows, heels and hips. They develop quickly and can be difficult to treat when paired with limited mobility.
Who is at risk?
People who are bedridden, use a wheelchair, or have limited mobility are considered high risk for developing pressure sores. The Mayo Clinic provides a list of the symptoms of the different stages of pressure sores.
What should I do if I have a pressure sore?
If you notice the beginning of a sore, change position to relieve the pressure. If there is no improvement over the 24-48 hours, seek advice from your doctor. These sores may lead to serious infections, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to seek immediate medical care if you show signs of infection, such as fever, drainage or a foul odor from a sore, or increased heat and redness in the surrounding skin.
What can I do to prevent pressure sores?
The best prevention is to make sure there are no major pressure points and that you shift position regularly.
In addition, good nutrition and hydration helps to keep your skin healthy. You also want to make sure that your skin is properly moisturized, but not too dry or wet.
For those with limited mobility, it is a good idea to have a caregiver check for any skin discolouration or irritation on a regular basis.
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