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Bedsores

Bedsores form on the parts of the body as painful ulcers, after a period of long and immobile confinement on a bed, bedsores can be very painful and form on parts that bear weight, such as the buttocks, the spine and back including the shoulders, the back of the head, and the elbows and knees, it might form on the toes if heavy bedcovers are utilized. One can usually be aware that they are about to form by watching out for the warning signs, which may start with a mild irritation and the formation of pain and redness in the affected part. Aside from these signs bedsores take the form of blisters, skin abrasions and ulcers on the parts of the body. The skin and the muscles and even the bones may be affected and painful in severe and advanced stages due to prolonged immobility.

The usual causes of bedsores may be prolonged and direct pressure on the body, essentially and form of immobility on a bed and in particular being in one position for a very long, however being laid on the folds and hems of improperly arranged bedclothes and even particulate matter like food crumbs on the bed can cause bedsores, as they can all irritate the skin and increase the chances of bedsore formation. Obesity and the other extreme of being thin are possibly risk factors and increase ones susceptibility to the formation of bedsores. Similarly all illnesses that affect the body's health increase the chances of bedsore formation and are collectively risk factors, these include illnesses like diabetes, arteriosclerosis and being undernourished. When these risk factors are present the skin is slow in healing even after all known causes of the irritation have been eliminated. Therefore it is advisable to uses all both an internal and an external therapeutic approach to speed up the healing process.

The ideal diet for a patient who has to spend a prolonged period in the bed is to have it rich in alkali's which is at the same time varied, and has sufficient quantities of raw vegetables and fruits. Fruits and green vegetables add to the alkalinity in the body at the same time that whole grains and meat add acidity. A high level of acidity in the body adds and contributes to the leaching off of essential minerals away from the tissues and these are essential in the osmoregualtion or the maintenance of a healthy blood pH level, a disturbance in the pH level causes and increases the chance of tissue damage and hinders it's repair. Another important and essential feature of the diet should be fiber, as fiber aids in cleaning the colon and in the elimination of toxins, that will in the event that insufficient levels of fiber in the body exist, be eliminated via the skin, and this could disturb the rate at which skin heals. Flax seeds are good absorbers of water and may aid in the easy passage of stools. The quick and efficient elimination of body waste through all channels preclude the possibility of the ulcer formation. Bladder function must be maintained throughout by having the patient drink a lot of water.

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Supplements and herbs

A diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables and low in protein content is an excellent diet as all nutrients and minerals are essential in the recovery process, and herbal and mineral based supplements are an excellent choice. The water soluble vitamin C or ascorbic acid, along with bioflavonoids and the fat soluble vitamin vitamin E are excellent choices to promote healing, they are present in good quantities in the diet mentioned above but should be suggested as a supplement in the diet anyway, as they are good promoters of tissue recovery and aid in providing strength and increase elasticity of new tissue and greatly scarring. B vitamins as a complex and the mineral zinc are also essential components in the quick healing of skin.

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Bedsores can make one vulnerable to viral infections and in order to avoid it's occurrence, the affected areas of the body have to be massaged regularly and the patient should have a bathe with herbs, which are bactericidal to prevent other illnesses as well.

To massage the affected area gently wash it with a cotton cloth which has been soaked in a warm infusion. For the infusion herbs such as chamomile which has an anti-inflammatory property can be used, in addition calendula and horsetail -this aids in nourishment and strengthening of the skin should be added to the infusion. The herbs which are antibacterial, including silverweed and goldenseal and those that have an anti-biotic function, example Echinacea or an anti-septic property such as the gum of the myrrh should also be included in the bath water.

It is advisable to have a full fledged bath with horsetail herb extract, by boiling 3 1/2 of horsetail for about 15 minutes in about two cups of water, straining this and adding the liquid to the bathwater. After the bath the best thing to do would be to massage with ointments of calendula all those parts of the body that have been affected. The massage can also be done using St. John's wort or tea tree oil in a dilute mixture with almond oil or if unavailable vitamin E to promote healing and avoid the possibility of infection in the affected parts. A very soothing and gentle healing balm is to use the herb aloe vera, in combination with freshly mashed leaves of the plantain and comfrey, however comfrey should only be included if the wounds are slight and are not deep, because the possibility of the surface skin healing too soon, and trapping pus and impurities exist when comfrey is used. Honey is an excellent substance to promote healing. The ideal way to use it is to take in a mixture about 1 tbsp with 1 tbsp. of calendula cream and layer it on a gauze as a poultice, and one should apply this poultice to the affected areas and leave it overnight with a dressing on. To keep all affected areas dry, a non-irritating powder of the arrowroot plant can be used.

Aromatherapy

Commonly used essential oils for bedsores:

Additional things you may do

Repositioning the patient and avoiding immobility by moving him every two hours greatly helps in the prevention of bedsores, also one area of the body should not serve for too long as a pressure point. All the stress on the major pressure points of the body while lying down can be greatly relieved by the use of soft pillows and fleecy sheepskins. Using mild creams or oils for use in massage of the affected body parts, or the act of taking alternating cold and warm showers can increase blood circulation rates and prevent to a great extent the formation of bedsores. Circulation can also be helped by the application of ice-cold compresses on the affected areas, and then by immediately drying the skin using a hair dryer set on warm, to blow warm air over the skin. One should immediately get rid of any sign of moisture buildup around open sores, and should wipe away the moisture from urine or perspiration as soon as possible. Vitamin E can also be applied to the affected areas, as a powder obtainable from capsules.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin B complex, 50 mg 2 times a day
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols, 400 IU 1 to 2 times a day
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, at least 1,000 mg 3 times a day
  • Zinc, 50 mg, with 3 mg copper

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