RICE anyone?


In the staffroom at the 'day job', there sits a bunch of reusable ice packs. Now I supplied these things and put them in the freezer (where they live) Next day, I see some have gone downstairs to the fridge, so I send them back to the cold box like naughty little kids. Next day, would you believe it? They are back in the fridge again. These pesky little scamps don't seem to want to stay in the freezer so I put a sign on the door advising staff as to the correct location of the ice packs and that any seen moving to the fridge should be told off and sent back to -20 degrees immediately. Now a member of staff, who has the safety of the ice packs at heart asks me why they have been sent to the freezer when the fridge is quite cold too. I point out the little word we throw around on first aid courses when teaching about sprains and strains RICE. Now this stands for  
  • Rest 
  • Ice  
  • Compression and 
  • Elevation
Not Rest, Slightly Chilly, Compression, Elevation... Need I say more? Apart from the following drivel is a copy of the poster that now adorns the wall in the afore mentioned staffroom.

Injuries are no fun, but too little or too much ice can leave the body's healing mechanisms out in the cold.
Applying ice to injuries can help healing in several ways. Firstly, cold constricts blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to and swelling around the injury site. Ice also numbs the area, which reduces your pain and helps to prevent muscle spasms. Finally, lowering the temperature of the injured area slows the area's cellular processes, which can actually help to limit tissue damage.
Removing an ice pack after a brief cooling period is important because your skin, although tough, is sensitive and doesn't get used to the cold from directly applied ice packs or bags. Believe it or not, you risk developing frostbite and, in severe cases, nerve and tissue damage when you leave your body exposed to extreme cold for long stretches of time. Also, when the skin cools below 15ÂșC, the body tries to counteract the cold by opening blood vessels in the affected area to increase blood flow, exactly what you don't want if you're hoping for a speedy healing process!
So, next time you get a boo-boo, try some ice: on for ten – fifteen minutes. You can repeat this cycle several times during the day to maximize the benefits of ice without risking further tissue damage. Whether you're using a bag of frozen veggies, an ice pack, or plain old ice in a plastic bag, make sure to wrap a thin towel or bandage around either the ice or the injured area to protect your skin.
It's always a good idea to consult with a qualified expert following an injury, professionals will be able to assess the nature of your injury and will make sure you are on the right path towards full recovery.
Reusable hot/cold therapy packs should never be used on an injury where the skin has been broken, as getting an infection from someone else’s injury is never a bonus you want to win. Single use chemical packs are available. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and hygienic  
At the other end of the temperature scale, hot packs will assist in increasing circulation, with temporary relief to muscle aches, back pain, sinusitis or menstrual cramps.

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