Northwest Wellness's Blog

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Ice Burn

Ice burn. It sounds like an oxymoron but it is a real injury. Though burns are normally associated with heat, the improper and prolonged application of ice or cold packs can cause thermal damage to the skin, leading ultimately to frostbite. By placing a layer between the skin and ice or ice pack, that helps prevent ice burn. The ice pack should be left on for no longer than 15-20 minutes at a time as well.

Treatment for an ice burn, first and foremost, is to remove the ice from the skin. Then, the process of warming the area needs to be gradual to avoid causing further damage. Notice, this is the opposite for heat burns which require cooling as quickly as possible. Using a towel soaked in warm water or soaking the ice burn in a warm bath can gradually increase the temperature without doing further damage. Do Not use hot water.

Blisters are also a possibility when the skin has been burned with ice. Treatment for blisters is the same for ice as heat. Do not pop the blisters. Applying an antibiotic ointment helps reduce the risk of infection.

Contact a medical professional if the skin remains cold, hard, or numb after the above mentioned treatments. This could be a sign of nerve damage and needs to be addressed by a professional.