Most Reference pressure sores Opens New Window develop when you or a person you are caring for is hospitalized or confined to a chair or bed. You can take steps to prevent pressure sores. After a pressure sore has developed, you can help prevent the sore from getting worse. To prevent or help heal pressure sores:
- Minimize constant pressure, sliding across
sheets or other surfaces, and slumping down in a chair or bed. You reduce the
risk of pressure sores if all areas of the skin and tissue receive an adequate
- Use Reference pressure-relieving devices or cushions if you or the person you care for is confined to a bed or chair.
- Use sheepskin layers or foam alternatives on chairs and beds, which helps prevent new pressure sores in people older than age 18 at risk of developing pressure sores.Reference 4 If you want to try the special sheepskin or foam, talk to your doctor about where to buy it. These are special products for medical use, not the usual foam or sheepskin.
- Frequently reposition yourself or the person you are caring for to help reduce the risk of developing new pressure sores or irritating current sores. Talk with your doctor about how often to change positions.
- Talk with your doctor about pressure-relieving products that might help you. Some products, such as doughnut-type devices, may actually cause or aggravate pressure sores.
- Keep yourself or the person you are caring for active, if possible.
- Inspect skin daily, especially around Reference bony areas Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window such as along the spine, at the lowest part of the back, around the hips, elbows, and knees, and at the back of the head and heels. When a pressure sore is forming, skin temperature is often warmer—but can be cooler—than the skin around it, and the skin can feel either firmer or softer than the surrounding skin.
- Learn to recognize what Reference pressure sores Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window look like.
- Keep skin clean and free of sweat, wound drainage, urine, and feces. Use a mild cleansing soap to keep skin healthy, but be careful not to scrub the skin too hard.
- Moisturize skin with lotion, and limit exposure to dry, cold weather, because dry skin is more easily damaged.
- Do not use antiseptic solutions such as Betadine, Hibiclens, or hydrogen peroxide. These can damage new and normal tissue.Reference 2
- Provide good nutrition through a healthy diet with enough protein to keep skin healthy and able to heal more quickly.
- Maintain a healthy weight, without swings of gain or loss. Weight changes can lead to increased pressure on certain body areas, or to problems with support equipment that no longer fits.Reference 3
- Watch for problems with clothing and accessories. Be sure your shoes aren't too loose or too tight. Avoid tight clothing, clothing with heavy seams, and nylon underwear.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco smoke, which dries out the skin and reduces blood supply to the skin.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference December 13, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Margaret Doucette, DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine