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First Aid & Emergencies

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Treatment for Bruises

Treating a Bruise at Home

1. Reduce Bruising and Swelling

  • Ice the area on and off for the first 24-48 hours.
  • Apply ice for about 15 minutes at a time, and always put something like a towel or wash cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Rest the affected area.
  • If possible, elevate the affected area.

2. Treat Symptoms

Recommended Related to First Aid

Understanding Frostbite -- the Basics

Frostbite refers to the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) that results when the blood vessels contract, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the affected body parts. Normal sensation is lost, and color changes also occur in these tissues. Frostbite is most likely to affect body parts that are farther away from the body core and, therefore, have less blood flow. These include your feet, toes, hands, fingers, nose, and ears. There are three degrees of cold injury: frostnip, superficial...

Read the Understanding Frostbite -- the Basics article > >

3. When to Call a Doctor

  • If bruise is accompanied by extreme pain, swelling or redness
  • If the person is taking a blood-thinning medication
  • If bruises appear on skin for no apparent reason
  • The bruise in on the face or head
  • You can’t move a joint
  • You may have a broken bone

4. Follow Up

  • Two days after a bruise develops, apply a heat pack or wash cloth soaked in warm water to the area several times a day to promote healing.
  • Pain and tenderness should get better within a few days and the bruise should go away within a couple of weeks.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 15, 2015

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