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Bed Sores

What are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are ulcers that occur on areas of the skin that are under extended periods of pressure. The pressure may be a result of lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, and/or wearing a cast for a prolonged period of time.

Bed sores can occur when a person is bedridden, unconscious, unable to sense pain, or immobile. Bed sores are ulcers that occur on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, and/or wearing a cast for a prolonged period of time.

Bed sores are commonly found on the tail bone area, hips, back, elbows, heels and ankles. They can become deep, extending into the muscle.

Bed sores are also called Decubitus ulcers and pressure sores.

Can Bed Sores be Treated?

Yes. It is important to treat bed sores as soon as they appear. If left untreated, the skin can break open and become infected. The treatment will depend on the severity of the sores and may include several methods. Treatment is more difficult if the skin is broken.

Common treatments of bed sores include:

  • removing pressure on the affected area
  • protecting the wound with medicated gauze
  • keeping the wound clean
  • medication (antibiotics and pain relievers)
  • antibiotic ointments
  • surgical removal of dead tissue

Can bed sores be prevented?

Yes. Some of the ways to prevent bed sores are:

  • good nutrition
  • clean and dry linens
  • frequent turning and repositioning of immobilized individuals
  • providing soft padding in wheelchairs and beds to reduce pressure
  • keeping the skin clean and dry

What causes a bed sore?

A bed sore develops when blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. As the skin dies, the bed sore first starts as a red, painful area, which eventually turns purple.

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