How to Effectively Apply Heat to a Wound

Save

Many skin wounds can usually benefit from an appropriate application of heat to the injured or infected site. While placing heat on a wound may seem simple, many individuals make common errors that can result in poor healing or even enhance the existing trauma. Heat needs to be applied with care and understanding. Here are some pointers.

Things You'll Need

  • Self or professional examination of the skin wound
  • A clean wash cloth or paper towel
  • A clean, pre-made heat pack
  • Warm water and microwave (if available)
  • A watch to time the heat application
  • Many skin wounds are simple abrasions that are superficial and can generally be self-treated. However, before implementing any self-treatment you should carefully examine the skin wound for any profuse bleeding, foreign objects, extreme pain, limitation of movement of the affected area or other suspicious trauma. If you are uncertain whether or not the wound is a simple one that should respond to self-treatment-please seek professional medical care immediately.

  • Gently cleanse the injured area to remove any dirt or superficial debris.

  • Place a warm (NOT scalding) wet compress on the area. A simple way of accomplishing this is to wet a clean cloth and ring it out fairly well and place it in the microwave for about 1 minute. Be very careful when you remove the "nuked" cloth from the microwave since it will likely be much hotter than you anticipate. Shake the cloth for a few seconds to cool it down to an acceptable temperature.

  • Place a barrier between your skin and the warm compress. A clean paper towel should work nicely. This prevents any potential direct skin burns and helps keep the affected area clean.

  • Heat should be applied for 5 minutes or more (you may have to rewarm your compress several times to accomplish this) at least three to four times a day or as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Repeat as often as necessary along with frequent self-assessment of the wound and the progress of healing. Always use a fresh cloth with each warm compress application. Wash the used compresses in hot water in your washing machine with your usual laundry detergent to prevent reinfection or passing along possible contamination to others. (I feel it is always best to use dye and scent-free detergents to reduce the chances of introducing any foreign substances into your body.)

  • If your superficial wound does not improve or actually worsens with self-treatment, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Applying heat to a superficial wound will help dilate nearby blood vessels and promote healing.
  • Always use a physical barrier such as a paper towel between the compress and the skin.
  • Never directly apply a heated compress to the skin; this could cause additional injury.
  • Never apply heated compresses to skin treated with topical medication unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider. Heat may actually increase the absorption of the medicated cream which may not be beneficial to the healing process.
  • This article is for informational purposes only. Only a licensed healthcare provider can diagnosis and treat a medical condition.
Promoted By Zergnet

Resources

You May Also Like

  • Differences Between Cold & Hot Compress

    Heat and cold therapy has been an effective tool for the management of pain and inflammation, and as means to aid in...

  • How to Cauterize a Wound

    If medical treatment is not an option and supplies are unavailable, using a fire-heated piece of metal to cauterize a wound will...

  • How to Identify a Surgical Wound Infection

    A surgical wound infection may occur following any type of surgical procedure. Actually, infections following surgery occur fairly frequently, depending on the...

  • How to Heal Surgical Wounds

    Surgical wounds may result from post-surgical incisions, IV sites, skin grafts or other procedures. They are typically closed with stitches, staples or...

  • How to Check a Wound for Infection

    Even if you are extremely diligent about cleaning and dressing a wound, wounds are, by nature, contaminated and may still become infected....

  • How to Soak an Infected Wound

    Infected wounds can be trouble if not taken care of properly. Continuous inflammation can cause cellulitis, gangrene or even death. That's why...

  • What Is a Warm Compress?

    A warm compress can be used to relieve many physical ailments, including stomach cramps or muscle pain. You can buy a warm...

  • Glues Used to Close Wounds

    Emergency rooms, surgical suites, and many other health care settings find that topical skin glues are a safe and effective way to...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of a Yelp Sales Manager

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!