Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation
from injuries and other conditions, such as arthritis.
Apply an ice or cold
pack to the injured or sore area at least 3 times a day for as long as you have
pain, swelling, and inflammation. For the first 72 hours, ice for 10 minutes,
once an hour. After that, use ice for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 times a day: in the
morning, in the late afternoon after work or school, and about one-half hour
before bedtime. Also, ice after any prolonged activity or vigorous
Always keep a cloth between your
skin and the ice pack, and press firmly against all the curves of the affected
area. Do not apply ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and do not
fall asleep with the ice on your skin.
Commercial cold packs are
too heavy and bulky for use on or around the eye. Be careful around the eye to
prevent a chemical burn to the eye if a pack leaks.
June 27, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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