Cold or hot compression can be vital for many things. A hot pack can be useful to add warm compression to an earache, muscle pain, or jaw pain, etc., or alternatively help reduce the pain of a troubled stomach.
It can also be useful for keeping warm and if you have a home that isn’t that well heated then it can be very useful for making sure that you don’t spend the night shivering.
Meanwhile, though cold compression can also be important, to help bring down a high temperature, to aid a headache, or to stop or reduce swelling.
As such there are numerous uses for either and they’re things that it pays to have handy.
Making a cost-effective compress that retains its healing warmth, is easier than you think.
There are several ways you can make a hot or cold compress using items that you have around the home which we will address here.
How to make a Hot Compress
Hot compresses are mostly applied to old injuries, muscle ache, rheumatic pain, period or menstrual cramps, toothaches, and boils.
It is easy to learn how to make a hot compress. There are different techniques or methods in making a hot compression
Method 1: Rice Sock
A rice sock is one easy way to make a hot compress and is something that can be re-used over and over again.
- Take a sock and fill it with dried rice, secure the open end by tying a knot, or pullover another sock over the open end.
- Put the rice sock in a microwave oven and heat for 2 minutes.
- Remove the sock from the microwave and place it over your aching muscle or joint. Rice socks aid well, particularly, for aches in the neck and shoulder blade.
Method 2: Salt Bag
- Get a cup or two of Sea salt (depending on how big the affected area is).
- Get a Clean cotton fabric or handkerchief
- Layout the piece of fabric or handkerchief on a flat surface.
- Put a cup of sea salt in the middle of the fabric.
- Wrap it up and secure it tightly with a rope or rubber band. Make sure that the seal is tight so that the salt can’t escape.
- Heat it in the microwave for a minimal of 2 to 3 minutes.
- Apply it on the side of the painful tooth or ear or any other muscle that aches or feels stiff.
Method 3: Waterbag
- Fill half of a medium-sized Ziploc or polyester bag with clean water.
- Seal the bag tightly and heat it up in the microwave for 1 minute.
- Spread the bag on the affected part to provide warmth.
Method 4: Steamed Warm Compress
- Soak a hand towel in hot water.
- Press out the excess water and place the towel over the sore or aching muscle.
- Repeat the soaking process once the towel cools off. Continue doing so until you get relief.
How to Make a Cold Compress
A cold compress constricts your blood vessels. Thereby leading to a reduction in blood circulation. This aids to stop the flow of blood in case of a serious injury.
Cold compress also numbs your skin tissues providing pain relief and is commonly used to treat sprains, bruises, swelling and inflammation, fever, and mild or severe headaches.
A cold compress is prepared just the same as the hot compress, but ice or cold water is used rather than hot or warm water.
A cold compress is replaced once it has warmed up to body temperature.
There are different techniques or methods in making a hot compression
Method 1: Ice Packs
In preparing a homemade ice pack compressor, one requires rubbing alcohol, Liquid dish soap, Distilled water, and 1 plastic zip-lock or vacuum seal freezer bag.
- Pour ½ cup of clean water into a jug.
- Pour ¼ cup of liquid dish soap.
- Add ½ cup of rubbing alcohol.
- Mix properly in the jug to get a uniform blend.
- Put into a zip-lock or vacuum seal freezer bag.
- Make sure you squeeze out all the air before sealing the plastic bag.
- Put it in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- You can freeze it to an ice-block or till it reaches a gel-like consistency.
- Wrap it up in a towel and apply it to affected bone or muscle injury for pain relief and inflammation reduction.
Method 2: Dish Soap
In preparing a homemade dish soap compressor, one requires a liquid dish soap and a zip-lock plastic bag.
- Pour ½ cup of colored liquefied dish soap into a sealable plastic bag.
- Make that it is properly sealed shut and airtight.
- Put in the freezer for about 3 to 4 hours (at least).
- Bring out the liquid dish soap (should have frozen to a gel-like consistency).
- Place a hand towel over the inflamed area and place the dish soap cold compress on top. (Never place a cold compress directly on your skin so as not to cause skin bruises).
Method 3: Using Sponge
The required items for this type of compress are:
A bowl of water, kitchen sponge, and a zip-lock plastic bag.
- Fill a big bowl with water.
- Dip the sponge in the bowl (make sure it is wholly submerged beneath the water)
- Allow it to soak up to 20 to 30 minutes and then remove it from the bowl.
- Take care so as not to press out the soaked up water from the sponge.
- Carefully insert the sponge in a plastic vacuum seal freezer bag.
- Make sure that the plastic bag is sealed properly.
- Put in a freezer for some few hours to freeze the sponge as required
- Apply sponge on the affected area to reduce inflamed joints or reduce pain
Using a homemade compress is one of the easiest and fastest ways to treat an injury. But there can be unplanned side effects if not used properly.
The following precautions should be observed while using a homemade compress.
Warm or hot water should be used carefully in persons with ostomies. An ostomy is a surgically shaped opening on the body, such as a tracheostomy and a colostomy.
Don’t place ice on areas with reduced sensation, such as from diabetes or Raynaud’s syndrome.
Don’t put ice directly on the skin, this can stick to you and burn, causing further injury. Icing one part of the skin for too long can lead to frostbite.
Hot compresses that involve the use of wet towels are not allowed for use in surgical wounds. It is necessary for surgical wounds and incisions to stay dry at all times in other to prevent infection.
Using cold compress for a serious injury is not advised, this is because the body may experience too many changes for ice to serve any importance.