Archive for November, 2013

When Ice is Nice

November 8th, 2013. Filed Under: consumer information.
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Two weeks ago one of my patients stepped too close to a curb and her foot slipped, pitching her forward into the street. Luckily, she managed to catch herself but not before she landed hard on her right ankle and knee. They immediately started to swell, and she ended up needing an x-ray. Luckily, she hadn’t broken it, but it would have been so much worse if she had not done one simple thing: quickly applying ice to it.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to apply ice, and she knew the trick of how to apply ice EFFECTIVELY.

There’s a TRICK to applying an ice pack? REALLY?

Yes, and I didn’t learn it until I was a firefighter in an isolated rural community who needed to be able to treat people who were screaming and thrashing in pain, without being able to give them any pain medicine until the paramedics arrived on scene, usually about 30 minutes later. We learned that ICE, applied right, is truly AMAZING in its ability to dampen pain.

What ice also can do is clamp down on swelling. Why is that important?

Let’s say you fall down the steps and break your arm when you land. Even when the x-rays show that yes, it’s broken, and you’re going to need it pinned back together, the orthopedic surgeon won’t touch you until all or most of the swelling goes down. You’ll have to get around in a splint or soft cast until the swelling stops pushing the bones out of place. If you don’t have much swelling, you won’t have to wait as long.

Knowing how to get the FASTEST, most powerful effect from an ice pack can make a difference here. The faster you can ice down an injury, the less swelling you’ll have and the sooner you’ll be able to get into surgery to FIX IT.

Here’s How to Chill an Injury QUICKLY and SAFELY:

1. Always keep a frozen ice pack or bag of frozen peas in your freezer, or a instant cold pack if you are away from home.

2. Find a thin towel and get it wet or very damp. I pack a thin towel in my first aid kit, by the way.

Damp Towel and Ice Pack

Damp Towel and Ice Pack

3. Place the damp towel to the injured area and THEN put the ice pack on it. WARNING: the INSTANT COLD can take your breath away. You may want to warn the victim (er, patient) that they’ll feel an INTENSE cold sensation, but then it will start to feel numb.

Applying Ice Pack To Injury Over Thin Wet Towel

Applying Ice Pack To Injury Over Thin Wet Towel

NEVER, EVER put an ice pack directly on bare skin! If you need to hold the ice pack in place, wrap the other end of the towel over the ice pack. If I needed to hold the ice pack on my leg, I would cover it with the rest of the towel so I could hold it safely.

Ice is a FABULOUS painkiller. On an aid call at an accident scene, it could transform screaming into ahhs. When you wet the towel first you you get an instant transfer of its cooling effect and rapid relief of some of the pain. Applying ice this way as soon as possible to an injury can give pain relief, reduce swelling and bruising, and shorten the time you have to wait to get surgery.

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend,

Dr. Louise

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Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate Book Signing

November 5th, 2013. Filed Under: consumer information, medicines.

This past Saturday, I was signing copies of Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. I couldn’t take Olive with me, so I had a stuffed Scottie guarding the chocolate. See below:

Dr. Louise at Inklings Bookshop

Dr. Louise at Inklings Bookshop

I promised to bring chocolate, and I did, with warning labels on them:

Chocolate with warning labels

Chocolate with Dr. Louise’s warning labels

Thank you for all your support,
Dr. Louise

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Olive Introduces “Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate” Book

I’ll be at Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, WA this Saturday, November 2nd, signing copies of my book, Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate: How Medicines Work and How YOU Can Take Them Safely. Inklings asked if I would make a short video for them to post on their website, I decided to call in a favor and have Olive help me talk about the upcoming event.Check it out here:

If you are in Eastern Washington this weekend, stop by Inklings Bookshop in Yakima and say HI!

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