Discharge Instructions: Using a Cold Water Therapy Device

Your healthcare provider prescribed a cold water therapy device. A cold water therapy device helps reduce pain and swelling and aids recovery. The device maintains a constant and precise temperature, providing up to several hours of continuous cold water therapy. Here’s what you need to know about home care.

Home care

Recommendations for home care include the following:

  • Use the cold water therapy device as directed by your healthcare provider. They will tell you how many hours a day you should use it.

  • Apply the pad to the area of your body that is injured. Do not apply directly to your skin. Use a cloth between the pad and your skin. Don’t wrap the area too tightly. Firm pressure is enough.

  • Press the hand pump several times as directed. You will feel cold water fill the pad. Some newer devices have an electronic pump and don't need a hand pump.

  • Pump again whenever the pad starts to feel warm (15 to 20 minutes). You can continuously circulate the cold water from the cooler. Some newer devices automatically circulate the cold water. They don't need manual pumping. Most devices can provide several hours of cold therapy.

  • Check your skin under the wrap often and keep your skin dry.

  • Take pain medicine as directed.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have either of these:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

  • Shaking chills

  • Increased redness, tenderness, numbness, tingling, or swelling of the cut (incision) or injured limb

  • Change in skin color or other changes in how your skin looks

  • Drainage or bad smell from the incision

  • Increased pain with or without activity

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