Avoiding Pressure Injuries (Sores)
When areas of the skin do not get the blood and oxygen they need due to prolonged pressure, pressure injuries (sores) form. This lack of oxygen causes cells to die. Being unable to move freely can increase your chances of getting pressure sores. To prevent them, you must take proper care of your skin and regularly shift your body weight to relieve pressure.
Signs of A Forming Pressure Sore
If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, contact your physician or WOC nurse.
- Skin redness that does not go away within 30 minutes of pressure being relieved. If you have darker skin, you may not see redness. You may notice a change in temperature, sensation or a darker color over the area of pressure.
- Change in skin color or temperature (warmer or cooler than other skin areas nearby).
- Skin irritation such as a scraped area, break in the skin, blisters or open areas.
How to Assess and Care for Your Skin
According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, there are several areas you should inspect for signs of pressure injury and give extra care to daily.
- Assess pressure points, such as the sacrum, coccyx, buttocks, heels, elbows, hips and beneath medical devices.
- Cleanse the skin promptly after episodes of incontinence.
- Use pH balance cleansers for the skin.
- Avoid positioning on an area of redness or pressure injury.
How To Prevent Pressure Sores
According to Children’s Minnesota, healthcare professionals recommended repositioning yourself in your chair every two hours. Also, it helps to maintain dry bed sheets free of wrinkles when laying down. When awake in bed, you can try to turn to a different position about every two hours. Ask your doctor if it is necessary to have a nighttime turning schedule.
Another good way of avoiding pressure sores is to use pressure re-distribution surfaces such as cushions, special mattresses and padding to support more bony areas.
*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.