Treating bedsores early is important because bedsores can advance from one stage to the next rapidly. If stage I symptoms occur, then steps to relieve pressure on the area should be taken immediately. It's also important to keep the affected skin clean by washing it with mild soap and water and drying the area gently [source: University of Washington School of Medicine].
Once the bedsore has moved beyond stage I, seek medical advice from a doctor. If the skin is already broken, the wound requires a dressing to protect the damaged area. See-through dressings are best, and specially treated dressings, such as hydrocolloid patches, provide added healing and protection for deeper sores [source: Collison]. Dressings should be changed often, and the wound should be cleaned to avoid infection.
Extremely damaged and infected skin, such as that found in stages III and IV, requires special attention. Dead skin around the wound prevents skin from healing and must be removed through a process called debridement [source American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging]. Medical professionals use several methods of debridement and will evaluate each patient to determine the best process.
A doctor may also prescribe a medicated ointment or antibiotics to ward off infection. Antibiotics can be taken orally or by injection [source: University of Washington School of Medicine]. If infection of internal tissues or the blood occurs, then patients may require prolonged antibiotic treatment.
There are products that make bed rest easier for people who have bedsores, including cushions and pillows that relieve pressure on the body where a sore is developing [source: Mayo Clinic]. If symptoms are caught in the early stages, they can heal on their own and medical intervention can be avoided [source: Mayo Clinic].
Read on to learn how to prevent bedsores.