If you spend a lot of time sitting or lying down due to a medical condition that limits your mobility, you are at risk for developing pressure sores on your skin. These areas of damaged skin increase your risk for infections, some of which can lead to sepsis, a cascade of reactions that can lead to organ failure. Since pressure sores can cause serious complications, it is important for anyone who spends a lot of time in the same position to take steps to prevent sores from developing. Here are three ways to avoid pressure sores if you use a wheelchair or spend a lot of time sitting in a chair or lying in bed.
1. Change positions as often as possible. With limited mobility, you may not be able to get up and walk around, but you can adjust your position so that the wheelchair, couch, or bed isn't putting pressure on the same area of your skin all the time. If you are bedridden, try a different position every few hours. You can turn from your left side to your right side or one of your sides to your back. If you are in a seated position, ask someone to help you move to a different chair.
2. Use products designed to relieve pressure on your skin. Several manufacturers make pillows, mattress toppers, chair pads, and mattresses for people at high risk of developing pressure sores. Using these products can help you relieve pressure on your skin, reducing your risk of skin damage. If you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair, put a thin pillow under your legs to prevent them from coming into direct contact with the chair. You can also put a pillow between your legs to prevent your legs from coming into contact with each other for long periods of time. If you are bedridden due to your medical condition, consider a pressure sore treatment rotation mattress. This type of mattress can be programmed to rotate your body from side to side so that one part of your body is never in contact with the mattress surface for too long.
3. Keep your skin dry. Excess moisture can cause the skin to break down, increasing your risk of developing a pressure sore. After you shower or bathe, dry your skin thoroughly with an absorbent towel. If you live in a humid environment, ask your doctor to recommend a drying powder that will absorb moisture without irritating sensitive skin.
Pressure sores can cause serious complications, making it important that you stay vigilant and do whatever you can to prevent them. If you develop a sore despite your best efforts, seek treatment immediately to avoid infections and other serious consequences.