Application of ice packs

Ice packs help reduce swelling and pain for many kinds of injuries. 

How do I make an ice pack?

You do not need to buy specifically made, ice-packs. A packet of frozen peas makes a good ice pack and will mould to the affected body part easily.  Please mark the bag, and then it can be re-frozen as needed. The peas (or other frozen food) however, must not be eaten.

Wrap the pack of peas in a damp towel, before applying to an injury. A tea towel or thin hand towel, is ideal. 

How should I use the ice pack?

  1. Wrap the frozen peas in a thin towel.
  2. Elevate the affected part of your body as much as possible.
  3. Cover as much of the swollen area as possible with the ice pack.
  4. Leave the ice pack on for ten minutes.
  5. Remove the ice pack. Your skin underneath may be red. However, if you experience discomfort or burning during the ice treatment, remove it immediately.

You can repeat the ice pack, for ten minutes:

  • every hour on day one
  • four times a day on day two

From day 3, you should decrease use, as swelling decreases.

Is there any reason not to use an ice pack?

Do not use an ice pack if you have:

  • poor blood circulation
  • poor skin circulation
  • nerve damage to the affected are

Reviewed by Dr T Shaw in October 2022, next review in October 2024. 

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