Pressure Sores - Treatment Overview
Protect healthy skin
In addition to avoiding
pressure, take steps to protect healthy skin.
- Bathe as often as needed to be clean and
- Use gentle soap to bathe, and use warm (not hot)
- Use moisturizing creams or lotions to keep skin soft and
keep it from getting dry.
- Check your skin every day for signs of
pressure sores. Look closely for changes in color or for sores. Pay special
attention to the
common areas where pressure sores develop, such as over the tailbone and
- If you have problems with bowel or bladder control:
- Clean your skin right away if it becomes
soiled or wet.
- Use a protective barrier cream, lotion, or ointment
to protect your skin from wetness.
- Use pads or briefs that absorb
moisture and pull it away from your skin.
Eat a healthy diet
Good nutrition is important to
both preventing and treating pressure sores. Focus on getting enough liquids,
calories, protein, and vitamins, and on controlling your weight. Both increases
and decreases in body weight can help cause pressure sores. Talk to your doctor or a
registered dietitian about a
healthy diet for you.
Treat infection as needed
Open sores, such as
pressure sores, are easy places for infections to start. Your doctor will be
watching for signs of infection, and you can help watch for these signs. Tell
your doctor if you notice:
- Redness or warmth in the skin around the sore, or red streaks
leading away from the sore area.
- Tenderness around the
- Pus in the drainage from the sore.
- A bad smell
from the sore or from the bandage.
To treat an infection, you may use medicine, such as
antibiotics, along with special care of the wound. You
and the people around you will also be taught to take steps to keep germs from
spreading to other parts of your body or to other people. These steps include
keeping the sore covered at all times except during treatment, good
hand-washing before and after caring for the pressure sore, and properly
wrapping and throwing away used bandages.
Treat pain as needed
Pain may or may not be a
problem with pressure sores. If you do have pain, talk to your doctor. Some
people who have pressure sores do not need any pain medicine, some need pain
medicine just when the sore is being treated, and some need pain control
medicine on a regular schedule.