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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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJoan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
Current as ofNovember 29, 2017
Current as of:
November 29, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
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