How to Use Ice to Reduce Inflammation
When you receive a blow or a bruise, or when a foreign agent infects an area of your body, the body's reaction is to inflame the affected area as a defense mechanism. Inflammation isolates the agent causing the damage and simultaneously repairs the affected tissue by increasing the blood supply to the area. But there is no doubt that inflammation is painful and annoying, so your reaction tends to be to react immediately in order to look after it and prevent the injury from getting worse, especially if it's a bump or bruise.
In these cases, ice is one of the most effective options. However, do you know how do you use ice to reduce inflammation? In this OneHowTo article, you'll soon find out.
Why is ice an anti-inflammatory?
When you suffer a twist or a sprain in your muscles, receive a heavy blow or have some kind of infection that inflames a particular area, such as conjunctivitis or a stye, applying ice is one of the first recommendations to follow in order to prevent the pain from getting worse. This is because when cells are cooled near to the injury or affected area, they require less oxygen, which automatically reduces swelling.
However, it is important that you apply ice on the inflammation properly. This is not only to ensure a better result, but also to prevent your skin from burning and causing you more harm.
How to apply ice to reduce inflammation on injuries and bruises
Injuries such as sprains, strains, plantar fasciitis or bruises benefit from the application of ice to reduce inflammation in the area and enable a good recovery. It is important to do it properly, so we recommend:
- Use an ice gel pad or a plastic compress filled with ice. Both options provide the necessary cool temperature but cause no damage or burns to your skin.
- If you do not have those options at hand, then place some ice in a plastic bag, soak a towel and leave it on the affected area. Place the bag on top of the towel, so the moisture will allow the cold to transfer without damaging your skin; it's like making a homemade ice compress.
- It is very important that you cool the injury as soon as possible. In the case of sprains and bruises, this is one of the first steps to take. If treating plantar fasciitis, it is important to apply ice several times a day, especially after physical activity.
- When using ice to reduce inflammation, lightly press the area as this will help to reduce the discomfort.
- It is also recommended that you raise the injured area above heart level. This will help to reduce the accumulation of blood in the injured area, which can increase the inflammation.
- Apply cold for 20 minutes and repeat 3 to 4 times a day to reduce discomfort.
How to apply ice for other types of inflammation
If you are suffering from other types of inflammation such as those caused by conjunctivitis, styes, dark circles or insect bites, the procedure is similar. In order to use ice to reduce inflammation, it is always important to avoid applying it directly on the area because you could burn the skin.
It is best to use ice packs, cotton pads dipped in iced water or cold eye masks if you are suffering from an eye problem. The application should last for 10 minutes and should be repeated 3 or 4 times a day.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Use Ice to Reduce Inflammation, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.