Everyone should know some basic first aid techniques, simple easy things you can do right away. One of the most helpful things to know for an injury is whether to use ice or heat. Here are a few things to store away in your memory for when the emergency occurs.
The RICE Method
“R-I-C-E” is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate. This is by far one of the best and easiest things to do immediately after an injury.
Let’s say your child twists their ankle playing on the playground. Using the “rice” method of first aid, you would have them:
Rest on the bed or couch. They should stop playing and rest, so no more damage is done to the area.
If there is swelling, apply ice. Ice numbs the area and reduces the pain. Ice also slows down the flow of blood to the area, which aids in reducing swelling or inflammation.
Apply compression to the swollen ankle. Compression is usually accomplished by wrapping an ace bandage around the area. This also helps to reduce swelling or fluid retention.
And finally, elevate. Have your child elevate their injured ankle above the heart – also to reduce swelling.
When to use heat versus ice
Another first aid or home treatment to do for pain is heat, but many people are uncertain as to when you should apply heat instead of ice. Let us explain.
Heat promotes blood flow, which can stimulate healing of injured tissue such as muscles and tendons. However, it’s important to wait until the swelling in the area is gone, because additional blood flow will increase swelling. Most experts say 48 hours after an injury, but again, only after swelling is gone. In addition to the increased blood flow, heat can sooth and relax sprains and strains, thereby reducing pain. A heating pad or warm cloth compress can be used to apply heat to the affected area.
So ice, or cold, is used immediately after an injury if there is swelling. An important note about the ice – don’t place the ice directly on the skin. Always have something light-weight between the skin and the ice. Apply the ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This is usually done for 48 hours. After swelling subsides, use heat to promote healing of tissue in the area.
If you have suffered a recent injury and have used the RICE or heat first aid techniques without relief or improvement, give us a call today for an appointment, or go online and use the appointment request link.
At Meli Orthopedic Centers of Excellence, we have all the resources necessary to give you a complete evaluation and treatment plan for all orthopedic injuries. Whether your injury is work or sports related, our orthopedic physicians are highly trained and trusted leaders in orthopedic care in South Florida. We have two locations to meet your needs in Ft. Lauderdale and Margate.