Education Center

Hot Packing Wounds

Category: Post Operative

The hot pack is one of the most important parts of home management of many wounds and injuries. Applying heat to a wound or injury increases blood supply to the area and helps keep deep wounds, such as abscesses, open and draining so that they heal properly from the inside out.

Heat can be applied dry or moist, depending upon the goals of treatment. Hot packs are usually applied two to three times per day for ten to twenty minutes per application.

Hot packs can be purchased at drug stores and can usually be heated or frozen. This is the best and easiest option.

If necessary, a very efficient hot pack can be made at home:

  1. Purchase several pounds of plain brown rice at the market. Minute rice will not work and white rice only works for one or two applications.
  2. Place the rice in a 100% cotton sock or sack. If there is any synthetic component to the material, the hot rice may melt through.
  3. Heat the sock (filled with rice) in the microwave on high power for four to eight minutes until the sock is very warm to the touch.
  4. For dry heat, wrap the sock in a dry towel and apply to the injury for about fifteen minutes.
  5. For wet heat, place the sock in a heavy-duty ziploc bag and press all of the air out of the bag. Then wrap the sock-ziploc combination in a towel moistened with hot water. Apply this moist hot pack to the wound for about fifteen minutes. Use a clean towel for each hot pack.


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