What are bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers is injuries to the skin caused by pressure and friction. Some of the common areas which are affected by bedsores are sacrum, coccyx, heals, shoulder back, hips, ankles, elbows and knees. Bedsores occur due to obstruction of blood flow to the affected area due to pressure. Such bedsores normally occur in persons who are unable to move about, bed ridden or confined to wheel chair.
Whenever a person is bedridden or wheel chair bound it is important to frequently turn the sides to prevent pressure on a particular spot. Moreover, people who are ill and are bedridden, experience exposure of skin to urine and stool which leads to bedsores.
Causes of bed sores
Bedsores occur due to external pressure which compresses the blood vessels and causes friction. This tears and injures the blood vessels. Some of the medical conditions causing bed sores are diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, dry skin, low body mass index and impaired mobility. Aging is also one of the causes that leads to altered mental status, urinary and fecal incontinence, malnutrition, physical restraints and malignancy. Another reason could be a history of bed sores or pressure ulcers.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of bedsore are itching, pain and change in color of the skin. In advanced stages, tearing or lesions on the skin also occur. Also in some cases, the affected area becomes warm and tender. In chronic cases, formation of pus and consequent bad smell is experienced. Blisters or small craters may appear with muscle and joint pains.
When a person develops bedsore there are preventive measures that can be adopted like, change of position frequently, avoiding sleeping in a recliner chair and by keeping the skin clear of sweat, urine or feces. People with dry skin can use moisturizers to keep the skin intact.
If bedsores occur even after taking preventive measures, it must be treated urgently. Else, there is a risk of the ulcer spreading to other areas or damaging more skin. This could cause pain and bleeding.
Home remedies for bedsores
Before calling a doctor to cure bedsores some of the home remedies available may be tried to address the problem. Some of the home remedies are:
To cure bedsores faster, washing the sores regularly is important and beneficial. Soap solution can be used to wash the sores. The affected area has to be cleaned with clear water or saline water at least twice a day. Cleaning with salt water guard against infections and inflammations and reduce oozing of fluid from the sores.
Spraying pure turmeric powder (preferably homemade) on the sores so as to fully cover the affected area and then bandaging, if possible, heals the wounds quickly. For faster relief such sprinkling and bandaging can be done twice or thrice a day. In addition to using turmeric powder as a spray, it can also be mixed with milk and consumed twice for lasting internal cure and remedy.
Application of oil
Applying coconut oil on the affected area and gently massaging so as to make the oil penetrate into the skin provides good relief. Coconut oil massage cures the sores and also prevent spreading to other areas.
After cleaning the sore area with water, aloe Vera gel or pulp is applied to cure the sore. Aloe Vera application, in addition to curing the sore, moisturizes the area preventing fresh sores in the area.
The therapeutic herb, comfrey (Symphytum Officianale ) is very effective in providing cure for bed sores. (The herb is called mookuthipoo in Tamil). It is a medicinal herb used for various ailments including ulcers. The paste prepared from the leaves is applied on the sores and bandaged. The bandage need to be kept overnight for fast cure of the sores.
This is another herb, Hydrastis Canadensis, otherwise known as orangeroot, which has antiseptic properties. The herb has restorative, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Powder from goldenseal leaves is mixed with vitamin E oil and applied on the sores for cure. If the goldenseal and vitamin E oil mix is dry, few drops of olive oil can be added to smoothen it.
Honey is a natural antiseptic that heals the sore and smoothens the skin. Simply applying a few drops of honey on the sore helps. Honey is also mixed with sugar and applied to cure sores.
Spraying a talcum powder or baby powder on the sores dries up the skin by removing fluids oozing from the sores. This prevents infection and spreading of the sores due to contact of the sore area with the bed or seat. Talcum powder spray can be repeated twice a day after cleaning and washing the wound each time.