How to Relieve Bed Sores - Bed Sore Options

Bed Sore Relief


Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are a common problem that individuals who are bedridden or have limited mobility often face. These painful skin lesions can range from mild irritation (stage 1) to open wounds with severe tissue damage (stage 4). In this article, we will explore various methods to alleviate bed sores across different stages and discuss the best types of mattresses that can aid in their prevention and relief.

Understanding the Different Stages of Bed Sores

Before delving into the remedies, it is crucial to understand the four stages of bed sores:

  1. Stage 1: In the early stage, the skin appears red, and it might feel warm and tender to the touch. It may not blanch when pressure is applied.
  2. Stage 2: At this stage, the skin becomes broken, forming a shallow open wound or a blister. Swelling and tenderness may accompany the sore.
  3. Stage 3: The ulcer deepens into a crater, exposing underlying fatty tissue. Infection risk increases, causing pain and possible pus discharge.
  4. Stage 4: The most severe stage involves a large wound extending deep into the muscle or bone. Infection, tissue necrosis, and serious complications are common.

Relief Measures for Bed Sores

Stage 1 Relief Options

When bed sores are still at stage 1, it is crucial to act promptly to prevent further progression. To achieve relief during this stage, consider the following:

  • Frequent repositioning: Regularly change body positions every two hours, redistributing the pressure exerted on specific areas.
  • Utilize soft padding: Place specially designed cushions or foam pads under pressure points to reduce friction and minimize further skin breakdown.
  • Maintain skin hygiene: Keep the affected area clean and dry, washing it gently with mild soap and water. Avoid using harsh products that can further irritate the skin.
  • Apply barrier creams: Topical ointments containing ingredients like zinc oxide or dimethicone form a protective layer on the skin, shielding it from excessive moisture and irritation.

Stage 2 Relief Options

As bed sores progress to stage 2, additional measures should be taken to alleviate discomfort and promote healing:

  • Cleanse and dress the wound: Carefully cleanse the wound with a sterile saline solution or water, and cover it with an appropriate dressing to prevent infection and aid in healing.
  • Utilize specialized mattresses: Consider using pressure-relieving mattresses, such as air mattresses or foam overlays. These can distribute the pressure evenly across the body, minimizing further tissue damage.
  • Opt for hydrocolloid dressings: These dressings promote a moist wound environment, aiding in the healing process and providing protection against external contaminants.
  • Seek medical advice: Consult a healthcare professional, as they may recommend additional treatments such as specialized creams or medications to address specific symptoms of stage 2 bed sores.

Stage 3 Relief Options

When bed sores reach stage 3, immediate medical attention is essential. In addition to medical intervention, the following relief options can provide some comfort:

  • Debridement: Healthcare professionals may perform debridement, a process that involves removing dead tissue and promoting the growth of healthy tissue.
  • Negative pressure wound therapy: This advanced treatment technique applies suction to the wound, facilitating healing and reducing the risk of infection.
  • Wound irrigation: Flushing the wound with a sterile solution helps remove debris and bacteria, promoting a cleaner healing environment.
  • Use pressure redistribution surfaces: Specialized mattresses and support surfaces, such as alternating pressure mattresses or static air overlays, can aid in relieving pressure and facilitating healing.

Stage 4 Relief Options

Stage 4 bed sores require intensive medical intervention due to the extent of tissue damage. The following relief measures may be employed:

  • Surgical intervention: Surgery may be necessary to remove the dead tissue, repair damaged areas, and promote healing.
  • Antibiotic therapy: To combat the risk of infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics to address bacterial growth.
  • Enlist the help of wound care specialists: Expert wound care professionals possess the knowledge and skills to provide advanced therapies, including negative pressure wound therapy and bioengineered skin grafts.

Choosing the Best Mattress for Bed Sores

Selecting the right mattress can play a vital role in preventing and relieving bed sores. Consider the following options:

  • Pressure-relieving mattresses: Mattresses designed to distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of bed sores. They may feature memory foam, air cells, or specialized overlays.
  • Alternating pressure mattresses: These mattresses inflate and deflate different air cells to periodically shift pressure, promoting blood circulation and preventing the formation of bed sores.
  • Low air loss mattresses: These mattresses are designed to minimize moisture buildup and maintain a dry environment, reducing the risk of skin breakdown.
  • Hybrid mattresses: Combination mattresses that incorporate pressure-relieving materials, such as memory foam or gel-infused foam, along with other support technologies.
  • Consult a healthcare professional: Discuss with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable mattress for individual needs and level of pressure sore risk.


Bed sores require vigilant attention and prompt intervention to prevent worsening and promote healing. By following the appropriate relief measures according to the stage of the bed sores, individuals can alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of complications. Additionally, investing in a suitable mattress can provide crucial support in preventing the occurrence and severity of bed sores. Prioritizing skin care and seeking professional guidance will ultimately contribute to a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle for those experiencing bed sores.

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