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Cool Packs

Injuries happen without notice! The fact that cold is an effective remedy for pain has been known for a long time and has been proven by studies. The anti-inflammatory and decongestant effect of cold is also undisputed. Especially after an injury, a suitable first aid measure is important to prevent a worse outcome. Cold packs are quickly at hand in injury situations and have a local effect on the painful area.

Here we would like to explain which types of cold packs exist, when to use cold packs and what you should bear in mind when using them.

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Different types of cold packs

Cold packs are available without pre-cooling as an immediate cold compress or as a multiple compress with storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Depending on the injury or healing process, it can be decided whether a lot of energy/heat must be extracted. Depending on the situation, cooling with an instant cold pack or a multiple compress from the refrigerator or freezer can be used. In all applications it is important that you always use a cloth to avoid the risk of hypothermia.

Instant cold compress

Instant cold compresses are bags that only need to be folded to trigger a cold effect within a few seconds. They remove heat from the environment and are quickly at hand and therefore ready for immediate use. Instant cold packs are usually designed for single use, which means that they cannot be reused once they have been activated by being folded.

Multiple compress

Unlike instant cold packs, gel-filled cold packs must be stored in the freezer or refrigerator. To achieve the desired cooling effect, it is necessary to keep the cold pack cold. The advantage of multiple cold packs is that they can be used again and again. Often, multiple compresses can also be used as a warm compress. To do this, simply place the compress in boiling water or in the microwave for a few minutes.

How do cold packs work?

Cooling with cold packs is an important first aid measure for many acute injuries, such as sprains, bruises, or contusions. Among other things, immediate cooling causes vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels). This means that the volume of the arterial (feeding) vessels is reduced, which consequently leads to a reduced "bleeding-in pressure". Less bleeding in means a decrease in swelling, so that less bleeding in needs to be "disposed of" in the next phases. At the same time, exposure to cold reduces blood flow. This inhibits the development of inflammatory reactions and leads to faster healing of the injury. Another important function of cooling is that it slows down the activity of receptors or nerve transmission and thus dulls pain.

Why are cold packs used?

Cold is one of the best-known immediate measures for injuries. The use of cold packs has numerous positive effects on the body. Among them are:

  •     Inhibition of blood circulation
  •     Reduction of fluid retention and swelling
  •     Modifying metabolic and inflammatory processes
  •     Pain relief
  •     Reducing muscle tone  

You can use cold packs in the following cases:

  •     For pain relief
  •     After sports injuries (tennis elbow) and operations
  •     For bruises, sprains and strains
  •     For inflammation of muscles and joints
  •     For haematomas
  •     For fever
  •     For toothache
  •     Backache
  •     For headaches or migraines
  •     For insect bites

How to cool properly!

Start cooling immediately after an injury so that the body can begin its auto reparative reactions. Acute cooling should only be applied for 15 to 20 minutes. Then interrupt the compression and do it again depending on the situation. The cooling phases can be repeated 2-3 times. And important: take small cooling breaks during the acute phase!


Cold packs are practical everyday companions and can be used for acute injuries anytime and anywhere. All you need to do is put them in a cooler or the fridge and they can prevent injuries from getting worse. Always remember the PECH rule and take care of your body. However, with all injuries, it also makes sense to have them checked out by a doctor for insurance reasons.