Pressure ulcers, also called pressure sores, are an unfortunately common injury resulting from constant pressure or rubbing on a specific area of the skin that restricts blood flow over time. As a result of poor circulation and limited blood supply around the affected pressure points, otherwise healthy skin cells begin to die—leaving an open, painful sore and fragile skin surrounding the wound.
Left untreated, pressure ulcers can increase in severity, from a small patch of broken skin and dead tissue, to a serious pressure injury that damages your underlying tissue, muscles, bones, tendons, and joints. Not only is this skin loss painful, it increases your risk of infection and long-term tissue damage.
Common risk factors for pressure sores
There are a few risk factors that can significantly increase your chances of developing a pressure sore, including:
- Immobility, whether due to another injury or age
- Surgery that requires a lengthy recovery time in a hospital bed
- Low body weight, which puts added pressure on vulnerable skin
- Restricted blood flow or limited circulation
- Poor nutrition
Pressure injuries that occur as a result of immobility for a length of time are known as decubitus ulcers, or bed sores, and are particularly difficult to treat. Elderly individuals, recovering surgery patients, and those with low body fat face the highest risk of developing bed sores.
Pressure ulcers are common, but preventable
To keep pressure ulcers and bed sores from quickly progressing, proper wound care is paramount. Here are three simple ways you can effectively treat pressure injuries—or avoid pressure sores altogether:
1. Change Pressure Area and Position
Pressure ulcers are caused by extended periods of pressure on vulnerable parts of your body, like the buttocks, shoulder blades, back, ankles, or hips. The simplest way to reduce your risk of pressure-related injury is to frequently change the area of pressure by either moving often, or using pressure-reducing cushions.
Donut-shaped pillows can be used to alleviate both bed sores and pressure ulcers caused by wheelchair use, as they reduce pressure placed on the susceptible parts of the body. Air-filled and water-filled cushions, and specially designed mattresses, can also help prevent blood flow restriction without adding irritating pressure to the affected tissue.
Some medical professionals recommend shifting positions once every 15 minutes to manage soreness and prevent pressure ulcers. When combined with a pressure-reducing pillow or mattress, this habit can aid in pressure injury prevention.
2. Keep Ulcers Clean
Infected pressure sores occur when skin damage allows bacteria into the open wound. Those with multiple pressure ulcers, chronic sores, or a compromised immune system are at increased risk of developing a life threatening infection.
To prevent a pressure ulcer infection, regularly clean and replace the wrapping on the pressure injury and surrounding area. Your wound care professional may also recommend using mild soap and water, or an antibiotic-free treatment like Dakin’s Solution, to keep the skin clean.
3. Maintain healthy habits
While it can be challenging to stay mobile when injury, surgery, or age limit your activity, doing your best to maintain healthy exercise habits and a nutritious diet goes a long way in healing and preventing pressure ulcers.
Exercise keeps the body moving, promotes the internal growth of infection- and wound-fighting cells, and improves blood flow. Plus, movement can relieve pressure on the affected skin, giving vulnerable areas time to heal.
Fueling your body with a healthy diet also provides your cells with the vitamins and nutrients they need to promote wound healing and skin cell growth, while warding off infection.
If you or someone you care for develops a pressure sore, proper wound healing is key
If you notice a pressure sore accompanied by a fever, bad smell, or draining fluid, see a doctor immediately. Without proper and prompt treatment, you are at risk of developing a serious bacterial infection that can impede wound healing and lead to serious long-term harm.
When treated at the first sign of injury, pressure sores can heal quickly and with limited discomfort. But when ignored, tissue, blood, and joint infections can occur—and skin grafts may be necessary.
When it comes to treating pressure ulcers, your doctor may recommend Dakin’s Solution.
Wound care nurses often use Dakin’s Solution to prevent infection at the first sign of developing pressure sores. New skin growth is essential to treating and preventing pressure ulcers, which is why Dakin’s non-irritating, non-cytotoxic, antibiotic-free formula can be the ideal course of action for relieving pressure injuries.
What makes Dakin’s Solution a simple, accessible pressure sore treatment option?
Dakin’s Solution is an over-the-counter wound care product that can be used to treat pressure sores, pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, bed sores, and infected tissue. Dakin’s Solution comes in multiple formulations and concentrations, providing a flexible, no-rinse, simple at-home treatment to address and prevent skin infections. Plus, Dakin’s Solution is affordable and can be easily ordered online or at your local pharmacy.