Hot and Cold Applications
Hot application is the application of hot agent, warmer than skin either in a moist or dry form on the surface of the body to relieve pain and congestion, to provide warmth, to promote suppuration, to promote healing, to decrease muscle tone and to softens the exudates.
Cold application is the application of cold agent, cooler than skin either in a moist or dry form on the surface of the body to relieve pain and body temperature, to anaesthetize an area, to check hemorrhage, to control growth of bacteria, to prevent gangrene, to prevent oedema and reduce inflammation.
· Heat decreases pain
· Heat decreases muscle tone
· Heat promotes healing
· Heat promotes suppuration
· Heat relieves deep suppuration
· Heat provides warmth
· Heat stimulates peristalsis
· Cold relieves pain
· Prevents gangrene
· Prevents edema and reduce inflammation
· Controls hemorrhages
· Checks the growth of bacteria
· Reduce the body temperature
· Cold anaesthetize an area
1. Water is good conductor of heat.
2. Air is poor conductor of heat.
3. Heat always flows from hotter area to the less hot area.
4. Prolong exposure to moisture increases the skin susceptibility to maceration and skin breakdown, reducing the protection of the intact skin.
5. Moisture left on the skin cause rapid cooling due to evaporation of the moisture.
6. Presence of steam increases the temperature of the hot application
7. Oil acts as the insulator and delays the transmission of the heat.
8. Woolen materials absorb moisture slowly, but hold the moisture longer and cold off less quickly than the cotton materials.
9. When immersed in water the body becomes buoyant therefore the exercises are performed under water with less effort.
10. The temperature tolerance varies with individuals and according to the site and area covered.
11. The end organs of the sensory nerves of the skin convey the sensation of cold, heat pain and pressure. The sensation is interpreted in the brain.
12. Friction produces heat.
· Heat is not used in malignancies
· Heat is not used in patients with heart, kidney and lung diseases
· Should not used in acute inflamed areas.
· Should not be applied on patients with paralysis.
· Should not be applied on open wounds
· Should not be applied when there is an edema associated with venous or lymphatic diseases.
· Should not be applied on patients with metabolic disorders.
· Should not be applied on very young and very old patients.
· Should not be applied on clients with high temperature.
· Cold should not be applied on clients who are in the stage of shock and collapse
· Cold should not be applied when there is edema.
· Cold should not be applied on clients with circulatory disorders.
· Cold should not be applied on patients with decreased sensation
· Patients with shivering and very low temperature,
· Cold should not be applied when there is infected wound.
· Asses the condition the clients before and after the hot and cold applications.
· Maintain the correct temperature for the entire duration of the application
· Expose the client only to the safe temperature.
· Do not allow the clients to adjust the temperature control of appliance such as short wave diathermy, electric heating pads etc.
· Never ignore the complaints of clients however small they appear to be.
· Always make sure that the client is in position to remove the application
· The client must have a calling signal within reach
· Never leave a client alone even for a short period that cannot move from the appliances.
· A thin layer of petroleum jelly or oil should be applied to the skin prior the application of moist heat application.
· Do not use electrical appliances near to open oxygen. A small spark may cause explosion.
· Do not handle electrical appliances with the wet hands.
· Hot and cold applications must be very carefully used when the clients is unconscious, anaesthetized or otherwise unable to respond pain.
· Any signs of complications should be recognized early, the procedure should be stopped immediately.
· After the procedure, dry the part gently by patting and not by rubbing to remove the moisture.
· In hyperpyrexia, the temperature of the body should be brought down gradually and steadily, sudden cooling is dangerous to the client.