Ice packs are a popular way to cool an injured area. They provide quick relief and can also help prevent further injuries. Besides being effective for injuries to bones and joints, ice packs can be used for sports injuries, arthritis, and migraines. However, using them improperly can lead to injury.
There are many types of medical ice packs available on the market. Some of these include re-freezable ice packs, instant ice packs, and gel ice packs. Gel packs are a little less messy than re-freezable ice packs. Re-freezable ice packs typically contain water, a thickening agent, and some sort of chemical to reduce freezing temperature.
Reusable ice packs are also available in latex-free varieties. Typically, they have a plastic bladder covered with non-woven fabric. This reduces condensation during use and is convenient for single-patient use. These ice bags are ideal for people with specialized cold therapy needs.
Instant ice packs contain a chemical reactor that lowers the water’s temperature to almost freezing. The chemicals in these packs are usually ammonium nitrate or calcium ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate can cause dilation of blood vessels, hemolysis, and methemoglobinemia. Calcium ammonium nitrate is less toxic, but requires a larger amount to produce the same effect as ammonium nitrate.
If you are thinking about buying a medical ice pack, you should know the different types and what they are made from. For instance, gel ice packs can be used for migraines, inflammation, and other medical purposes. Gel packs are safe to handle and can be re-used several times.
During a sporting event, a gel pack should never be heated from frozen. You should test the pack’s temperature before applying it. Using the wrong liquid can also be dangerous. To avoid ingesting any chemicals, you should always be under the direct supervision of an adult. Usually, you should not put the gel pack on an open wound, or over a broken bone.
Another major type of medical ice pack is a pressure bandage. In the medical ice packs case of a soft tissue injury, applying a pressure bandage can restrict blood flow, preventing the injured part from healing as quickly. When using a pressure bandage, you should not apply the pressure too tightly. It should be applied over the injured part and elevated above heart level. Avoid using a pressure bandage around the neck or around the ankles.
In addition to helping you get rid of pain, ice compresses can help minimize swelling and postoperative bruising. It can also be used to control excessive bleeding. Cold therapy is often a quick first aid that can be used within 24 to 48 hours after an injury.
A reusable ice pack should only be used on an injury that is not too large. Ideally, it should not be left on an injury for more than 30 minutes. Leaving an ice pack on an injury for longer can cause a slushy or ice burn, and can make it harder for the skin to heal.