On 1:07 PM by NY Drs. Urgent Care
Most schools are back at it already. This means that the school athletes are back at work too and lots of injuries will soon happen: sprains, strains, etc.
The treatment recommendation for a sprain or strain is usually RICE which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Unfortunately, by using ice and placing the ice pack directly onto the skin can cause ice burn!
Yes, ice can burn the skin and cause frostbite as well. When treating an injury with ice you need to make sure that you put a towel or sheeting between the ice and your skin. In some cases the ice burns look similar to a sunburn, and may not blister or cause any severe damage. You might realize you have an ice pack burn if you develop blisters, if your skin is yellowish-gray in color, or if it feels numb, itchy or painful with a burning sensation.
Blistering is a sign of an ice pack burn, just as with heat burns. Treating the blisters appropriately will help avoid infection and further complications. You may develop an open wound as a result of incorrect usage of an ice pack; treat the wound as you would any other, with antibiotic ointments, a barrier substance such as petroleum jelly, and gauze bandages to keep the area moist and free of infection. If the blistered area is large, you might need to change the dressings and re-apply first aid to the area for up to 10 days.
Professional Medical Attention
An ice pack burn or frostbitten area that does not begin to tingle, burn or regain a pinkish hue may be the sign of more extensive damage of the blood vessels and muscles underneath the skin. If the burned area stays numb with skin that feels hard and cold, you may need professional medical attention. Contact your family doctor to determine what course of action to take to avoid complications such as nerve damage and gangrene. Remember, ice is good for injuries but cannot be applied directly to the skin.
For more information on ice burns you can visit our offices at:
205 Lexington Ave New York, NY 10016, 13th St. Urgent Care
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