Note: Proper medical supervision is highly recommended for this condition.
A bed sore, also known as a pressure sore or pressure ulcer, is an open wound on the skin that is common among people who are confined to their bed or a wheelchair for extended periods of time.
One of the main causes of bed sores is undue pressure and friction on the skin. This can happen after lying or sitting on a certain area for long periods. It can also occur due to wearing soiled clothing or undergarments for long periods.
People who have difficulty moving due to poor health, weakness, paralysis, sedation and coma are at higher risk of getting bed sores.
Other common risk factors include fragile skin due to age, diabetes, loss of sensation in body parts, weight loss during prolonged illnesses, poor nutrition, dehydration, very dry skin and excessive smoking.
Common symptoms of bed sores include discoloration of the skin, pain, itching, tearing or lesions on the skin. If not checked in time, it can lead to ulceration with a deep wound and develop signs of infection like pus.
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel defines the symptoms of bed sores in 4 stages to better diagnose and treat this condition.
Bed sores often affect the buttocks, shoulder blades, skin along the spine, backs of arms and legs, back of the head, lower back, heels, ankles and skin behind the knees.
Strict hygiene measures should be practiced to promote healing of bed sores and reduce the risk of infection. You can also use some easy home remedies to minimize discomfort and promote healing. Plus, proper medical supervision is highly recommended.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for bed sores.
1. Change Positions
Changing the position of your body every now and then will reduce the stress and pressure on the skin that can irritate existing sores. It also reduces the risk of developing new sores.
- If you have enough upper body strength, you can reposition yourself every few hours using a device like a trapeze bar.
- If you are in a wheelchair, try to shift your weight every 30 minutes.
- Caretakers should use bed linens to help lift and reposition you to reduce the risk of friction and shearing. This should be done every 2 to 3 hours.
2. Saline Water
To help bed sores heal faster, clean the sores with saline water. Bed sores that are not cleaned properly are more prone to infection and inflammation. Saline water will reduce excess fluid and also get rid of loose dead skin.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of salt in a cup of water.
- Boil it, then allow it to cool.
- Use this solution to clean the affected body area.
- Allow the area to dry thoroughly, then cover it with a bandage.
- Repeat a couple of times a day.
Turmeric accelerates the healing process of bed sores. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties that help your body deal with the symptoms and fight infection.
- Clean the affected area with sterile water or a saline solution. Sprinkle enough turmeric powder to cover the wound. Cover the area with a clean bandage. Repeat 3 times daily for quick healing.
- You can also drink warm turmeric milk 2 times daily.
Honey has natural antiseptic properties and can also soothe the skin where there are mild bed sores. It can provide relief from pain, reduce itching and promote healing. Honey can also reduce the risk of infection.
- Prepare a thick mixture with equal amounts of honey and sugar. Apply this mixture to the affected body area and cover it with a clean bandage. Follow this treatment once daily.
- You can also spread honey over a large banana leaf. Lie down on this banana leaf for a few hours. Repeat daily.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can be used to control infection in bed sores. Due to its healing and soothing properties, it can also promote healing. Plus, it keeps the affected skin moisturized, which ensures quick recovery.
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
- Apply this gel on the affected area and rub gently for a few minutes.
- Allow it to dry on its own, then wipe it off with a clean damp cloth.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
You can use aloe vera gel powder, cream or ointment to help promote healing.
6. Coconut Oil
Being rich in medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil will keep your skin healthy and protect it from damage caused by constant pressure. Plus, massaging it onto your body will improve blood circulation.
- Smear some warm coconut oil all over your legs, limbs and back.
- Gently massage until the oil penetrates deep into the skin.
- Apply 3 or 4 times daily to heal the sores and prevent new sores from appearing.
Note: While massaging, do not apply pressure on the sores. If you do not have coconut oil then you can use olive, mustard oil, or any other massage oil.