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Treating a Bruise (contusion)

Do Bruises require First Aid Treatment? Yes.

A Bruise or Contusion ~ A contusion is another name for a bruise. It is usually caused by blunt trauma; as in the case of a baseball bat striking an arm or a car accident. The purple discoloration is caused by crushed blood vessels leaking blood into the surrounding tissues. Often these areas will swell with other body fluids and cause lingering pain or discomfort.

The proper treatment of a bruise or contusion is the careful application of ice. An ice pack will constrict the injured blood vessels to help control bleeding, reduce swelling in the area, and eliminate some of the pain. Elevation may also help to minimize swelling and bleeding.


What to do:

  • Get permission to give care.
  • Apply ice or a cold pack to help control pain and swelling.
  • Fill a plastic bag with ice or wrap ice with a damp cloth and apply it to the injured area for periods of about 20 minutes.
  • Place a cloth, or a thin barrier such as a gauze pad, between the source of cold and skin to prevent injury.
  • Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling. DO NOT elevate if it causes more pain.

*A special warning about ice:

Never apply ice directly to the skin as prolonged contact may result in frostbite. Make sure there is a sterile barrier between the ice and skin surface.

Apply cold to stop the swelling and damage Apply cold to stop the swelling and damage

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