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Pain Management Health Center

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Swelling - Home Treatment

Mild swelling will usually go away on its own. Home treatment may help relieve symptoms.

Swelling and pain are very common with injuries. When you have swelling, you should look for other symptoms of injury that may need to be evaluated by your doctor.

If you have a medical condition that may cause swelling, follow your doctor's instructions on how to treat your swelling.

Mild swelling

  • Rest and protect a sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
  • Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and any time you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
  • Avoid sitting or standing without moving for prolonged periods of time. Exercising the legs decreases the effect of gravity, so swelling goes down.
  • A low-sodium diet may help reduce swelling.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help prevent swelling caused by dehydration.
  • Keep your skin cool in hot environments.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Swelling increases or spreads.
  • Other symptoms develop, such as pain, fever, trouble breathing, or decrease in urination.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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