Pressure Sores and the Ears
Not commonly the first part of the body to spring to mind when the term ‘pressure sore’ is mentioned, but it is however an extremely vulnerable part of the anatomy and one that is at risk of developing a pressure sore and also an area that is often overlooked or neglected by both patients and carers alike.
What Is A Pressure Sore?Pressure sores or ulcers, are wounds that develop as a result of damage to the tissues. Often they begin as a small patch of reddened skin that gradually worsens until the skin breaks and the lower layers of tissue are affected. If these are not treated and prevented, they can deteriorate quite severely and deepen until they reach the deep tissues or even down to the bone in the worst cases.They occur as a result of blood flow restriction and as the name suggests, this is most often because of pressure to that area. This pressure is commonly caused by being in the same position for too long allowing the affected area long periods without any proper circulation. This causes blood cells and oxygen to not reach the area allowing the tissues to deteriorate.
As they can occur quickly and can be difficult to heal, the medical professions are very strict concerning pressure sore prevention and have many assessment tools and preventative measures in place to avoid their occurrence.Along with these measures there is also a wealth of health information surrounding the subject for those who care for dependents at home.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Pressure Sore?The first symptom of a pressure ulcer developing is a red area appearing to the skin. These superficial skin sores can quickly breakdown revealing a raw wound which over time may ooze fluids or pus. Quite often there is not a great deal of pain associated with the sore as the area may be void of a nerve supply as it has broken down with the tissues. However, ulcers that appear on some parts of the body can remain very painful.
Why Are The Ears At Risk Of Developing Sores?The ears are not commonly known to be an area that is prone to pressure sores, but in actual fact they are more common than the general public think.They are frequently seen in those who remain bed-ridden for long periods, especially those in hospital, and in particular, those who receive oxygen therapy through a face mask that is held in place by a strap that passes round the ears and back of the head.
They may also occur in those who wear spectacles that are ill-fitting and are too small around the ear pieces.Anyone can be at risk of a pressure sore but those who are most at risk include the elderly, diabetic sufferers, those with vascular disease and those who have reduced mobility.
Preventing Pressures Sores On The Ears.Pressure sores can easily be avoided in many circumstances with the most important factor being mobility, it is important to make sure that the body’s position is changed frequently. In those who rely on the care of others, this should be done at least every two hours.
For those wearing face masks of have other equipment that may cause a sore to develop on the ear, padding should be applied, the area relieved of the pressure every two hours and the area inspected for damage frequently.Where possible, other forms of equipment should be used or alternated so that the same tissues are not put at risk all of the time.
Any one who wears glasses should make sure they have had them fitted by their optician who can make slight adjustments making each set of frames suitable for each individual wearer.The most important preventative measure for everyone else is to make sure their tissues are not compromised in any way and this can be achieved by not smoking, making sure enough water is drunk and to get plenty of fresh air and exercise encouraging oxygen levels in the body to be rich.
Pressure sores, although not often thought of as being associated witch the ears, can occur on these areas and be very difficult to dress, treat and heal properly.As with most disorders and complaints, prevention is always better than cure so measures should be taken to ensure they are not in any immediate risk of tissue damage.