Bed sore which is also referred as pressure sore is an open skin wound. It may further proliferate into deeper tissues leading to an ulcer. Bed sore is common in patients who are bed ridden for prolonged period of time. Bed sore develops due to constant pressure and friction on particular area of skin, mainly having bony prominence. Hence you may find bed sore developing in heels, buttocks, ankles, tailbone, elbow etc.
The risk increases when patients remain in soiled clothes and undergarments for long period of time. The risk of bed sore is high in aged individuals having fragile skin, people suffering from paralysis, diabetes, poor nutrition, loss of weight from prolonged illness etc.
Stages Of Bed Sores
There are 4 stage of bed sore.
- Stage 1: The skin in affected area is red but intact. It is not broken. This stage can be reversed.
- Stage 2: Tiny blister and shallow ulcer develop over the red area of skin. This stage is also reversed with proper care.
- Stage 3: The ulcer extends deeper and tissues can be seen underneath. This stage is difficult to heal and there is risk of infection.
- Stage 4: There is severe destruction of tissues and the ulcer proliferate muscles to reach the bone. The underlying bone can be easily visualized.
Bed sores are difficult to heal. A complete hygienic care is necessary for promoting healing process as well as for prevention of infection. Bed sore needs medical care for healing. There are few effective home remedies that act as complimentary to medical treatment of the wound.
Home Remedies For Healing Bed Sores
Bed sore of stage 1 and 2 are not too deep and they can be reversed with regular dressing and certain home remedies. However, bed sore of stage 3 and 4 require medical management. In any case strict aseptic precautions are necessary to reduce the risk of infection.
- Frequent change of position: A bed ridden patient needs frequent change of position. This is to reduce stress and pressure on skin and prevent further damage to the skin.
- Use saline water: Use saline water to clean the wound. Sores that are cleaned with saline water are less likely to become infected and inflamed. It also clears away the dead tissue from the shallow ulcer. While cleaning use sterilized gauze pieces and cotton balls.
- Turmeric powder: Turmeric has mild antiseptic and anti inflammatory properties. The content curcumin in turmeric helps reduce inflammation. After cleaning the sore with saline water sprinkle small amount of turmeric powder on the bed sore and cover it with sterilized gauze. Apply a bandage to the dressing. Patient can also drink milk mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains fatty acid. It helps the skin to remain healthy and protects the skin from pressure to large extent. Massaging around the affected area of skin increases blood circulation.
- Aloe vera: Extract fresh aloe vera gel from the plant. Apply it over the sore. Cover it with a piece of gauze. Apply three to four times in a day. This will help to keep the skin moist and enhances the healing process.
- Eat fruits: Fruits are good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is considered to be the best tonic for skin health. The anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties of vitamin C is beneficial for healing of the bed sore. Almost all fruits contain vitamin C, but large amount is present in orange, lemon, kiwi, bell pepper, grapefruit etc.
- Eat food containing zinc: The mineral zinc is essential for skin healing and repair of wound. It also takes part in cell generation and helps the immune system to fight off infection causing pathogens. Person can take zinc containing supplements after consultation with doctor. The patient can also eat foods such as oysters, pumpkin, spinach, mushrooms as they are rich source of zinc.
In addition to the above home remedies, homeopathic medicine calendula is considered to be best for treating bed sores. Apply calendula ointment or mother tincture on the bed sore daily once or twice till the lesion heals. However, it may not be of much benefit in stage 4 bed sore.