How to use ice packs

Ice packs are used to alleviate pain, inflammation and swelling from various injuries and other conditions including arthritis.

Various forms of cold and ice packs

Ice pack

Store about 1 lb. of ice in a plastic bag or commercial pack at pharmacies. Add sufficient water to cover the ice. Get rid of any air out from the bag and apply over the injured body part.

Ice towel

Ice packs

Apply a cold or ice pack over the injured area at least 3 times throughout the day as long as pain, inflammation and swelling are present.

With a towel, soak in cold water and wring out the excess. Fold and place in a plastic bag and allow to freeze for 15 minutes. Take out the towel from the bag and place over the injured area.

Cold packs

  • A bag of frozen peas can be used which mold well to the body. It can last for 10-20 minutes.
  • Combine 3 cups water and a cup of alcohol in a freezer bag. Close the bag and store in the freezer until slush forms. You can refreeze the bag if the slush starts to melt.

How to use an ice pack

Apply a cold or ice pack over the injured area at least 3 times throughout the day as long as pain, inflammation and swelling are present. During the initial 72 hours, apply the pack for 10 minutes at least once an hour.

After this, apply the pack for 15-20 minutes at 3 times throughout the day – morning, late afternoon and 30 minutes before bed time. In addition, apply ice after engaging in prolonged activity or strenuous exercise.

Make sure that a towel or cloth is placed between the skin and the pack and firmly press against the affected area. Do not leave the pack more than 15-20 minutes at a time and avoid falling asleep with the ice on the skin.

The commercial ice packs available in the market are usually bulky and heavy to be used on or around the eye. It is vital to be careful when it comes to injuries in the eye area to avoid a chemical burn to the eye in case the pack leaks.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on ice packs is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage injuries using ice packs, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.

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