Living With Polio

Don’t Ignore Pressure Sores

Mary Ann Buckingham had polio when she was 12 and walked using braces and crutches. Now 73, she started using a wheelchair about 20 years ago when her arms became too weak to use crutches.

As a polio support group leader for 10 years, she was well aware of the danger of pressure sores and took preventive measures to avoid them such as rotating her weight every 15 minutes and never scooting out of the chair. And, until recently, she was successful.

“I never had one,” she said, “and after getting a new cushion, I noticed a tingling and self-medicated with zinc oxide, which had no healing effect.” She went to her family doctor who sent her to a wound clinic where she was diagnosed with a Stage 2 wound (the topmost layers of skin are severed with some drainage).

“They prescribed two different types of medicated patches and said the sore would heal in two weeks. I couldn’t believe it, but it did” she said. “The first patch was ConvaTec DuoDerm® that I changed every days and the second was 3M TEGaderm, a thin cellophane-like patch.”

Both are hydrocolloid adhesive dressings coated with substances that promote wound healing without causing softening and breaking of tissue.

Her advice: Don’t delay seeing a doctor if you think a pressure sore is developing and follow guidelines for prevention and treatment. See a seating and mobility specialist for evaluation and recommendations for proper cushions.


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