How to Treat Skin Sores

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Skin sores are more commonly known as bed sores. Other names for these types of sores are pressure sores or pressure ulcers. The medical term for these skin lesions is decubitus ulcers. These sores usually occur on bedridden or wheelchair-bound people. The area of the buttocks or hips receives pressure from the weight of the body. These areas don't get much blood circulation. This results in damaged and destroyed tissue and skin. But other areas of the body such as the ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders can also get bed sores due to friction or temperature conditions. While the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health both state that bed sores are preventable, Medical News Today reports that even with the best of nursing care, bed sores are hard to prevent.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild soap or saline solution
  • Sheepskin or similar padding
  • Have a doctor remove the infected or dead skin and tissue. The bed sores have a better chance of healing once the damaged skin is gone. Doctors remove the destroyed tissue and skin using a variety of methods. Depending on many factors such as the severity of the bed sores, their location and the age and health of the patient, a doctor may cut away the dead skin with a scalpel, apply topical enzymatic

    creams or use lasers or ultrasound to get rid of the affected skin.

  • Clean the pressure ulcer each time the dressing is changed. Wash the area with mild soap and water. For open sores, wash the area with a saline or saltwater solution.

  • Use a whirlpool bath. Hydrotherapy is a good way to treat pressure ulcers. The water cleans the skin and removes dead and damaged skin naturally.

  • Place sheepskin or other padding on the bedsore. The padding provides some level of protection from the friction caused by the surface of the wheelchair or the bed.

  • Relieve pressure on the affected areas by changing positions frequently. The Mayo Clinic recommends changing positions every 15 minutes if in a wheelchair and at least every two hours if bedridden. If necessary, have a caregiver or family member help you.

  • Use support surfaces.

    "These are special cushions, pads, mattresses and beds that relieve pressure on an existing sore," according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Some of these devices are made of foam or are water- or air-filled.

  • Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Vitamin C and zinc may promote healing of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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