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What are Bed Sores?

What are Bed Sores?

What are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are skin injuries caused by constant pressure on one area of the skin. The pressure being applied to the skin cuts off blood flow in that area, causing damage to the skin.

  • Bed sores most commonly happen on the bony areas of the body, places like the hips, tailbone, hips, knees, and elbows

  • Bed sores are most commonly found in individuals who are unable to move or have limited mobility, more specifically: bedridden patients, chairbound patients, those with a cast which presses too tightly, and those who are unable to move normally, whether it is paralysis or an impairment

  • More often than not, bed sores can be prevented by simply changing position and keeping the skin clean and free of moisture

Causes of Bed Sores

Remaining in one place for too long is the most common culprit of bed sores, although there are other ways in which they can occur.

Some of the main causes of bed sores are:

  • Constant pressure, specifically on the bony regions of the body or regions that protrude

  • Friction is another common culprit, especially in patients with poor circulation and thin, frail skin

  • If the individual is moved too quickly or they slide down their hospital bed, they may experience shearing. This is when the skin moves one way and the bone beneath moves in the other direction causing cell walls to tear, which may lead to infection

Who is Vulnerable?

Any individual who stays in one place for too long of a time without the ability to change position is vulnerable to developing bed sores.

People who are at high risk for developing bed sores are those who:

  • Can’t move position due to an underlying medical condition

  • Can’t feel sensation, specifically pain

  • Have a cast or brace which puts pressure on a bony region

  • Have moist skin, most commonly seen in bedridden patients from sweat, urine, or feces

Symptoms

Bed sores come in four different stages ranging from mild (stage 1) to severe (stage 4) so each situation is different. The longer the sores go left untreated, the deeper they reach, making them more severe.

Some of the warning signs to watch out for are:

  • Stage 1 - Persistent redness of the skin with slight pain

  • Stage 2 - Top layer of skin begins to form bubbles and blisters

  • Stage 3 - The sore begins making it way through the skin, creating an ulcer

  • Stage 4 - Skin necrosis, the ulcer may also become infected at this point
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