Preventing and Treating Bruises
As a ER nurse, my job is to access the injuries of the patients that come into my hospital. One of the things I see a lot is unexplained bruising. A bruise is usually caused by someone bumping into something, or falling or in the case of coming to the hospital, I see a lot of bruises and tears on skins caused by car accidents or fighting.
It’s easy to identify a bruise. The skin looks discolored and is black and blue due to damaged blood vessels under the skin where the injury happened. Bruises usually hurt and feel tender for a few days. I can give you some advice, if you have a very painful bruise it’s possible you broke your arm or leg, so you should likely come to the ER where I can assess it and check you out!
Sometimes you will get a bump with a bruise, like if you get knocked on the head. This is a possible serious thing and you could have a concussion, so be sure to get to the ER to see the doctors fast and nurses like me will take care of you right away. Once you get a bruise, I was taught that they usually heal in a week or two, but if not, you could have a more serious issue and should be seen by your regular doctor.
The best way for you to treat a bruise is by putting ice on it right when the injury happens. This helps it not get as bad and will also make you feel better. You should wrap the ice in a washcloth or use a disposable ice pack and leave it on for about 10 minutes, then take it off, and then put it back on for another 10 minutes in an hour or two.
You can also put some pressure on the bruised area by putting an elastic bandage on it if it is in a spot like a leg or arm. This helps because the bandage holds the blood vessels in place and they don’t leak blood, so the bruise doesn’t get so bad.
Once it has been 24 hours, you can use heat instead of ice on the bruise. One time I hurt my ankle and got a bad bruise. I had to wrap it up in an elastic bandage and I couldn’t go to work that day. My little dog, Spike, tripped me and I had to prop my foot up, put on some ice and wait until it felt better, so I know all about bruises from a first-hand experience! They are not fun.