When to use ice in First Aid

Emanuele Mortarotti in
12 April 2023

Using heat or ice to treat a minor injury or to relieve pain is effective and decisive. Here are some guidelines for choosing hot or cold compresses safely.

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How many times have you had to use heat or ice to heal a small injury or relieve pain? Both methods are effective and decisive, but it is important to recognise when to use them to avoid making things worse. Using the right option is important to avoid risking aggravating the pain or having no relief at all.
With the support of an article read on safeandsoundhealth.co.uk, we will guide you on how to choose hot or cold compresses safely.


Benefits of ice: tips and contraindications

An ice compress is always a good idea when there is a need to reduce swelling, alleviate acute pain (thanks to reduced blood circulation, inhibited by the very sensation of cold), or treat an inflammation.


Sprains, sports injuries, and pulled muscles can be resolved by using an ice therapy for a period of 3 to 5 days. Remember to bring relief to the painful part by holding the compress in place but not for too long.


When not to use ice? If you have poor circulation and suffer from sensory disorders inhibiting the feeling of cold, there is a risk of burns. Also, an ice pack is no good if you experience muscle or joint stiffness.


Ice can be used in the form of ice packs, frozen gel packs, ice sprays or, in more extreme cases, which should always be prescribed by a doctor, an ice bath. If you use a compress, always remember not to put it in direct contact with the skin, but to use a soft, dry cloth as a "barrier".


Benefits of heat: tips and contraindications
Unlike ice compresses, hot ones increase blood circulation. As a result, the muscles become more elastic and flexible again, capable of movement.
A hot water bottle, a heated and properly covered gel pack can provide relief not only from muscle pain, but from a variety of ailments such as cramps, arthritis, back and neck pain. Hot baths, a thermal pillow, heat patches and bands can be other ways to spread heat.


Unlike cold compresses, hot compresses are more efficient if repeated on a regular basis and over a longer period of time.


When is it not advisable to use hot packs? First of all, it is important to pay attention to the temperature. We know that, if too high, these can cause burns and scalds. Heat should never be applied to open wounds - it is fine when they have healed. Hot packs are not recommended for those suffering from diabetes, vascular disorders and multiple sclerosis.



Instant ice packs or ice packs that can be heated when needed are essential items in your first aid kit. If you would like to know more and explore the range of products offered by Dispotech, contact us now by clicking here.