First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Using Ice and Cold Packs
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 exercise.
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.
Current as of
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical ReviewWilliam H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineJoan Rigg PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
Current as of:
June 26, 2019
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Joan Rigg PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
UNC Medical Center
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
UNC Health Care Citrix
UNC Medical Center Intranet
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.