Helping Ease Pressure Sores
Bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers, are areas of damaged skin tissue which can cause severe infections, some of which are life-threatening. You are at risk as a result if your skin is exposed to moisture and any combination of prolonged pressure, shear, friction and heat. Your risk increases if you use a wheelchair, are bedridden, or are unable to change your position. Bedsores commonly form on the heels, ankles, buttocks, hips, back and elbows.
Immediately contact your doctor if you show signs of infection, such as increased redness or swelling around a skin ulcer, a fever, drainage from an open sore, or if you detect an odor.
What Causes Pressure Sores
While pressure on the skin contributes to the formation of bedsores, other common factors that can damage the skin include:
Friction: occurs when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding. It can make fragile skin more vulnerable to injury.
Shear: occurs when two surfaces move in the opposite direction; shearing and friction can occur when a person is slid across bed sheets. When the head of the bed is raised more than 30 degrees, shearing forces are increased over the lower back and tailbone.
Moisture & Heat: wetness from sweat, urine or feces along with a rise in temperature has been clinically demonstrated to contribute to skin damage.