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Pressure Sore Pain and Infection

Even if you care for your pressure sore properly, problems may come up. Pain and infection are two such problems. Pain can make it hard to move or to participate in care. Infection can slow healing.

Managing Pain

You may feel pain in or near the pressure sore. Tell your doctor or nurse if you do. Covering the sore with a dressing or changing your body position may lessen the pain.

If you feel pain during cleaning of the pressure sore or during dressing changes, medicine may help. It may be over-the-counter or prescription medicine. Take medicine to relieve pain 30 to 60 minutes before these procedures to give it time to work. Tell your doctor or nurse if your pain medicine does not work.

Treating Infection

Healing may slow if the sore becomes infected. Infection from the sore can spread to surrounding tissue (cellulitis), to underlying bone (osteomyelitis), or throughout the body (sepsis). These serious complications demand immediate medical attention. If you note any of the signs of infection in the following table, call your doctor right away.

Signs of Infection


Infected Sore Widespread Infection

Thick green or yellow drainage Fever or chills
Foul odor Weakness
Redness or warmth around sore Confusion or difficulty concentrating
Tenderness of surrounding area Rapid heart beat
Swelling

Information provided by National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Alternating pressure mattress / low air loss mattress for prevention / treatment of pressure sores.

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