Robyn Makes Sense

Bed sore, no more!

Let me make sense of  bed sores. Often referred to as pressure sores or ulceration of the skin, bed sores are a common problem. The erosion of the skin starts by prolonged pressure depriving the area of blood supply. There are different stages of bed sores. Stage one is irritated skin, no open wounds. Usually pink or slightly inflamed skin. Stage two is when the skin breaks open and becomes very tender and painful. This can appear to look like a scrape or a blister. Stage three is when ulceration begins and the tissue below the skin is damaged and forms a small hole. The wound can be so deep that you may see fatty tissue exposed. By stage 4 the bed sore is causing extensive damage to the tissue and in severe cases the skin will die and turn black due to lack of blood flow. If not cared for at this stage, damage to tendons and joints can occur.

During my mom’s recovery she was in a vegetative state and we had to keep re-positioning her every 2-3 hours in order to avoid bedsores. Well, it happened a bed sore appeared! We were surprised at how quickly it went from a stage one to the beginning of stage four in such a short time. The doctors told us if it got worse they would consider removing the black skin since this was damaged dead tissue.  Doing this would require minor surgery and it would be months to heal and probably about a year to get it back to stage 1. I knew there had to be another way and searched online for hours. I came across a site for amputees and learned about medical grade manuka honey. This marvelous-wonder-honey is a natural antibiotic and helps draw out and fight the infection.  It comes from New Zealand using bees to pollinate the manuka flower. While researching the different grades, I learned what UMF, KF Factor and MGO meant. These are different ways to certify the concentration and location from which the honey was obtained.

In order to be considered medical grade, the UMF or KF Factor needs to be 10+ and the MGO needs to be 400+. This ensures there is enough concentration to have healing properties. For wound care you want a high concentration of manuka in order to have the most benefit. I ordered the highest concentration I could find online. It found New Zealand certified MGO 820+ and we started using it right away. We layered a thick coat of honey directly on the bed sore and covered it with a clean gauze. Every time we changed my mother’s diaper, we cleaned the area with sterile water and applied a new layer of honey using a fresh q-tip, as not to contaminate the honey. We changed her about 5 times a day. After about 6 weeks of this treatment, her skin had closed up and we were back to a stage one bedsore. I was happy we no longer needed to put my mother through another procedure unnecessarily. The photo below shows her at stage 3/4 and approximately 6 weeks later.

Making sense of it all!

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