Uses of Hot and Cold Compress

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The hot and cold compress are valuable home remedy treatments used to soothe common body aches and pains and when to use it depends on the medical condition.

A cold compress is very easy to prepare, just simply put ice cubes in a plastic water bag and it’s ready to use while the hot compress can be made by filling a rubber water bag with warm water, but you need to be extra careful in preparing a hot compress, never use boiling water to fill in the rubber bag for it might melt the bag or could burn the skin when directly applied.  Better yet, it would be safer to just buy a ready made preparation available in drugstores which when soaked in hot or cold water will stay hot or cold for a matter of an hour or so.

hot and cold compress

The following are the Medical Conditions on when to use a Hot or Cold Compress. 

Use Hot Compress for:

Osteoarthritis and joint aches and pains

A hot compress works well with osteoarthritis especially during the cold season. For long-standing joint pains applying a warm compress over the painful area can relieve the pain and can help loosen the stiffened joint.

Muscle pains

Muscles harden up due to overexertion, a warm compress can help loosen up stiff muscles.

Stomach pain

A hot compress can alleviate stomach pains due to colic or diarrhea.  Drinking warm water can also relax the stomach muscles.


Women who frequently wear eye makeup and curl eyelashes too much may suffer from a sty.  It is a pimple-like eruption that occurs in the eyelids. Place a cotton bud soaked in warm water over the sty twice a day for 10 minutes.

Boils or Pigsa

This is a very common skin infection which is very painful as it contains pus inside. Applying a warm compress for 15 minutes, three times a day not only relieves the pain but can help to soften and burst the boil. After the hot compress make sure to soak the boil in Povidone iodine for around 10 minutes to kill the bacteria inside.


The advised home remedy for hemorrhoids is a hot-sitz bath. Sit on a urinal or a container half-filled with warm water.  It will help reduce the swollen blood vessels of the hemorrhoids and will give temporary relief. Do not forget to take your prescribed medicines as well.

Use Cold Compress for:

Fever and headache

A cold compress can help ease headaches and can lower down high body temperature.


Applying ice directly on a sprained ankle is the first aid performed in the first 48 hours after the injury. It is important to see your doctor for evaluation of the injury as a splint may be required as well as to know more about pain and inflammation management.

Gum and nose bleeding

For nose bleeding, press over the bridge of the nose and apply a cold compress to the area. Bleeding gums could be stopped by applying a gentle pressure on the area while applying the cold compress.

Eye bags

Putting cold cucumber or ice underneath the eyes can reduce eyebags.

Final words: Hot and cold compress is home remedy treatment that must be used with precautions especially for the elders and people with underlying illnesses such as stroke, diabetes and more.  For more serious cases consult your doctor at once.

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