Cover Image
close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 9: Women with Disabilities
close this folderTaking Care of Your Health
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentKnowing when you are sick
View the documentSkin care
View the documentExercise

Skin care

If you sit or lie down all or most of the time, you can develop pressure sores. These sores start when the skin over the bony parts of the body is pressed against a chair or bed. The blood vessels get squeezed shut, so that not enough blood can get to the skin.

¨ Pressure sores ore one of the main causes of death in persons with spinal cord injury.

If too much time passes without moving, a dark or red patch appears on the skin. If the pressure continues, an open sore can develop and work its way deeper into the body. Or the sore can start deep inside near the bone and gradually grow out to the surface. Without treatment, the skin can die.



For information on how to treat pressure sores.


· Try to move at least every 2 hours. If you lie down all the time, have someone help you change position.


· Lie or sit on a soft surface that reduces pressure on bony areas. A cushion or sleeping pad that has hollowed-out areas around the bony parts will help. Or make a simple cushion or sleeping pad from a plastic bag filled with uncooked beans and rice. It must be refilled with new rice and beans once a month.

· Examine your whole body carefully every day. You can use a mirror to look at your back. If you notice a dark or red place, try to avoid any pressure on this area until your skin returns to normal.

Examine your skin every day.

· Try to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in protein.


· During monthly bleeding, do not use cloth or tampons inside your vagina to catch the blood. They can press against your bones from inside your body and cause a sore in your vagina.


· Try to bathe every day. Pat your skin dry, but do not rub it. Avoid lotions or oils, because they can make your skin soft and weaker. And never use alcohol on your skin.