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question

How should I care for someone with a closed wound?

American Red Cross
American Red Cross
answer

Many closed wounds, like bruises, do not require special medical care.

  • To care for a closed wound, you can apply an ice pack to the area to decrease bleeding beneath the skin.
  • Applying cold also can be effective in helping to control both pain and swelling.
  • Fill a plastic bag with ice and water or wrap ice in a wet cloth and apply it to the injured area for periods of about 20 minutes.


    • Place a thin barrier between the ice and bare skin.
    • Remove the ice and wait for 20 minutes before reapplying.
    • If the person is not able to tolerate a 20-minute application, apply the ice pack for periods of 10 minutes on and off.
    • Elevating the injured part may help to reduce swelling; however, do not elevate the injured part if it causes more pain.
  • Do not assume that all closed wounds are minor injuries. Take the time to find out whether more serious injuries could be present.
  • With all closed wounds, help the person to rest in the most comfortable position possible. In addition, keep the person from getting chilled or overheated.
  • It also is helpful to comfort and reassure the person.
  • Be sure that a person with an injured lower extremity does not bear weight on it until advised to do so by a medical professional.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.