It is important to provide a remedy for swelling as soon as possible following trauma or injury to the area. Swelling can occur from an accident or because of post-operative surgery. Even something as simple as tooth extraction will cause swelling to the cheek and mouth area. Ice can be used to decrease pain and also reduce the swelling, since it decreases blood flow to the injured tissue, reducing inflammation. Ice also helps to reduce bruising to the injured area, slowing the blood flow to the spot.
Place ice in a bag, making sure the cap on the ice bag is shut tight or the plastic bag is sealed to keep the ice securely inside. If using a cold compress from the store, follow instructions.
It is recommended you cover the bag with a washcloth or paper towel to avoid contact of the ice to the skin. When putting ice to the skin for a long time, it may result in frostbite. Even when using a commercial frozen gel pack, it is suggested you place it over a washcloth or paper towel.
Apply the ice or cold pack to the swollen area for 15 to 20 minutes, and then remove the pack for about 45 minutes. Repeat the process for about 3-4 hours.
If you are out of ice bags or plastic bags and cannot get to a store to buy a cold compress, you might have remedies in your freezer. Frozen vegetables, entrees, hamburger and even ice cream can come in handy if you need relief in a hurry.
When you first apply cold or ice packs, you will feel coldness for a while, followed by a slight burning sensation. The area will begin to feel numb after a few minutes.
Ice and cold packs also relieve pain, restore strength and bring about healing faster. No matter how minor the swelling appears, be sure you see a doctor or health care professional.
The packs should be kept on no longer than 20 or 30 minutes.
Remove the ice pack if you believe the area is starting to feel too numb. A certain amount of numbness is expected, but it can lead to frostbite if the pack is left on too long.
Be careful when you have to place the ice on a thin-skinned area, such as the elbow, knee or foot. Those areas are more susceptible to cold and can become easily frostbitten.