Home Remedies for Bedsores

home remedies for bed sores

People who are confined to a bed or wheelchair and cannot move without the help of others may experience weakened skin because of insufficient blood flow. Decreased circulation can lead to sores on the skin. To prevent the condition and encourage healing, home remedies for bedsores can alleviate some of the damage when in the early stages.

What are Bedsores?

Also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, bedsores indicate an injury to the skin that affects underlying tissues when too much pressure is applied to a part of the body. Bony areas are more vulnerable to developing bedsores, such as the hips, heels and buttocks. People living in a nursing home or staying in the hospital for long periods of time are at the highest risk for experiencing bedsores.

Symptoms of Bedsores

There are four stages that a bed sore undergoes as it increased in severity. Only patients with Stage I or II can benefit from home remedies – any other symptoms requires the assistance of a medical professional.

Reddened (or discolored) skin typically develops. The site may become painful, firmness, or cooler than surrounding skin. Stage II creates an open wound, where the outer layer of the skin shows signs of damage. A pressure ulcer may develop – a pinkish-red shade. Sometimes, a patient may experience a fluid-filled blister that ruptures.

In Stage III, the ulcer has become a deep wound. Skin is lost – usually exposing underlying fat and some yellowish dead tissue. The ulcer now resembles a crater and may have spread to affect surrounding healthy skin. A patient with a stage IV bed sore has lost a lot of tissue. Muscle, bone and tendons can become exposed, along with darkened, dead tissue. Symptoms of bedsores usually appear on the tailbone, shoulder blades, spine, hips, heels, skin behind the knees, and the backs of arms and legs [1].

Bedsore Home Remedies

When bedsores go unnoticed and left untreated, the threat of infection can take a life-threatening turn for the worst. A speedy response can cut down on the amount of suffering and long-term damage. The following home remedies for bedsores can help treat early symptoms:

a) Change Positions:

Promote healing of bedsores and prevent new ones from forming by changing positions while lying in the bed. When you move, skin pressure is released and circulation starts to increase. A patient in a wheelchair should be repositioned every 15 minutes, while bedridden patients should move at least every two hours.

b) Baby Powder:

To decrease friction when moving a patient with bedsores, use baby powder.

c) Clean the Sore:

Bedsores need to be regularly cleaned to promote healing. Removal of any dead skin is also important. Antiseptics can damage the skin and slow down the healing process, which makes a warm saline solution (salt water) a suitable choice. You can create a cleansing solution for bedsores by mixing two cups of water and two to three tablespoons of table salt. Allow the salt to dissolve in the water before transferring to a squeeze bottle. Apply the salt-water solution over bedsores – making sure to place a clean towel under the affected skin to catch excess water.

d) Honey:

This miracle substance has played a role in accelerated skin healing and wound care for centuries. Honey also acts as a skin moisturizer. The antiseptic qualities help prevent and treat infections. Add honey to a gauze bandage or pad, and place on a bedsore. Change the honey dressing at least once every 24 hours. Improved results are typically seen within one week and 10 days.

e) Mild Soap:

To prevent infection, you must keep open wounds clean. Gently wash a stage I bedsore with mild soap and water[2].

f) Keep Skin Dry:

It is extremely important to keep the skin dry of bedridden or wheelchair bound people. When moisture becomes trapped under pressure, the tissue starts to deteriorate and open sores can develop.

g) Vitamins:

Your body needs nutrients and vitamins to fight the formation of bedsores and to encourage healing. Certain vitamins are more beneficial, such as vitamin C and zinc, which speeds up the healing process of wounds.

h) Phillips Milk of Magnesia:

When added to iodine, milk of magnesia has been known to provide a soothing remedy for bedsores. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Next, apply the remedy to bedsores several times per day (or as needed). After a few days, patients have reported signs of healing. Some people have applied Milk of Magnesia directly onto their bedsores to see results. Another remedy using Phillips Milk of Magnesia involves combining one teaspoon with one teaspoon of sugar to create a paste. Spread the mixture on bedsores to encourage a scab to grow over the open wound.

i) Honey and Vegetable Juices:

Combine two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of rhubarb (or beet) juice to create a healing paste that is applied to bedsores. If the mixture is too runny, add a bit of flour as a natural thickening agent. Cover the wound with a bandage and change daily.

j) Air Mattress:

To reduce the pressure of bedsore-affected skin, you may need to sleep on an air mattress to get a comfortable rest. The ‘cushion of ‘air’ that this type of mattress offers is less stressful than a mattress with springs.

k) Aloe Vera:

Before applying aloe vera gel to a bedsore, clean the area and apply once or twice per day. The aloe will bring soothing relief, as well as encourage a speedy recovery.

l) Lysol:

The disinfectant power of Lysol has been used by caretakers of bedridden patients to prevent and heal bedsores. Place Lysol in a spray bottle and apply over the part of the body where a bedsore has developed[3]. The Lysol will help infected bedsores to heal by killing germs.

m) Humidifier:

A humidifier prevents the skin dryness that can lead to irritation associated with bedsores. Skin with a decent level of moisture is more resistant to bedsores and other infections.

n) Vitamin E Oil:

Apply vitamin E oil over the body to moisturize skin and make it more resistant to the dryness that can lead to bedsores.

o) Get Your Vitamins:

If you are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair, eating a diet full of essential vitamins can become a lifesaver. It is important to get plenty of vitamins A, B, C, D and E, which can prevent and heal bedsores.

p) Turmeric Powder:

Some people have sprinkled turmeric powder on affected skin to disinfect a pressure sore.

q) Drink Water:

When you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water, you will keep the skin soft, as well as promote the removal of dead tissue.

r) Quit Your Vices:

Bad habits can make bedsores worse. Smoking causes dry skin and reduced blood supply to the skin. For that reason Grandma recommends you use her tips to stop smoking. The healing process also slows down when you smoke tobacco products.  Drinking caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee, should also decrease.

s) Sugar:

A mixture of honey and sugar can be applied to bedsores to encourage healing. Apply directly to your wounds.

t) Petroleum Jelly:

To keep bedsores moist and encourage faster healing, apply petroleum jelly. Cover with gauze bandages and secure with a piece of tape. Reapply the petroleum jelly at least two more times to keep the wound covered throughout the day.

u) Increase Fiber Intake:

A daily bowel movement can prevent bedsores from getting worse. Increasing your intake of fiber can help – consider fruits, vegetables and high-fiber cereals.

v) Massage:

In the very early stages of bedsores, you can massage the area to promote better circulation to pressure points.

w) Vitamin E Soap:

A daily sponge bath using a soap containing vitamin E is beneficial for a patient with bedsores.

x) Cotton Clothing:

Wearing clothing made out of cotton offers a breathable material that makes skin with bedsores more comfortable.


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedsores/DS00570/DSECTION=symptoms

[2] http://sci.washington.edu/info/pamphlets/pressure_sores.asp

[3] http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/bed-sores.shtml