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Old 12/15/09, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Western WA
Posts: 4,792
Hot/warm, moist compress

So the doctor says I need to use frequent 'Hot/warm moist compress' on the wound for the next few days. I asked if I could use an electric heating pad but she said it really needs to be moist as well as hot/warm.

I've been trying to use a washcloth with hot water but it really doesn't work well as the cloth does not hold the heat for long at all. I tried putting the washcloth in a ziploc bag and that helped with the water drippage but the heat still does not last long.

At one time we had some sort of 'hot pack' that you put in the microwave but it kind of blew up when we cooked too long. Maybe one of those with a moist wash cloth wrapped around it?

There has to be a better way??

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Old 12/15/09, 03:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SoCal
Posts: 80
How moist does it have to be?

I made a hot pack (brown rice in a cotton cover). I place it on top of a 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup filled w/ an inch of water or so. Pop it in the microwave for about a minute to a minute and a half and it is kind of a warm steam compress. The only problem with this is that it loses heat pretty quickly--I would say that I have to microwave it every 30 minutes or so.
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Old 12/15/09, 03:12 PM
Pink_Carnation's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 2,400
There are some heating pads that are made for moist heat. As soon as you put the wash cloth in a ziploc bag it won't be moist heat any more. For the washcloths I would keep a container of hot water with you and keep swaping washcloths letting one sit in the hot water while the other is on you ring it out and put it on when the other gets to cool.
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Old 12/15/09, 03:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: north central WA
Posts: 2,055
I use a rice bag too that I made. You don't even have to sew it. Take an old tube sock, pour some rice in it and tie the end shut. Microwave for a minute or 2 and your good to go. If you need it to be moister, spritz some water on it before you microwave it. Works great. Mine lasted until the sock wore out LOL
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Old 12/15/09, 03:31 PM
badlander's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: North Eastern Missouri
Posts: 1,644
I be a nurse. We used to make warm moist packs where I worked by placing a wet cloth next to the skin, covering the area with glad wrap (easy to wrap a length LOOSELY around an arm or leg) and then cover it with a heating pad on low setting. Most heating pads have a heavy plastic coating to them. Make sure yours does if you try this.

Simple and effective.

Make sure not to over heat the area and give yourself a scald burn along with the original injury. The wash cloth will stay warm as long as the heating pad is on it and the glad wrap keeps it from drying out.
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Old 12/15/09, 03:44 PM
Danaus29's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 19,562
I bought a heating pad rated for moist heat. It came with a foam pad you get wet and wring out. I think it's a Sunbeam.

badlander has the best solution unless you want to go out and buy another heating pad.
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Old 12/15/09, 04:11 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern North Carolina
Posts: 45,365
You can put the washcloth on the wound, cover one side with plastic, and then apply the heating pad
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Old 12/15/09, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Alabama
Posts: 7,185
I sit near the micro wave and nuke that wet wash cloth every few minutes. And if it's a small spot I refold the washcloth to get some more heat from the center before I reheat it.
US Army veteran, military retiree spouse, and military; civilian; British NHS; and VA doctor.

Last edited by Jenn; 12/15/09 at 04:12 PM. Reason: pesky spacebardoesn't work
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Old 12/15/09, 10:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 115
using flax seed and rice mixed gives longer heat with moisture...don't have to be tied to an outlet...just a thought
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Old 12/16/09, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 475
Keep in mind, you shouldn't be applying the heat for more than about 20 minutes at a time anyway. Like Badlander mentioned, you don't want a burn on top of the injury. Your doctor should have told you how many times a day they want you to apply. Or if they want it more than a 3-4 times a day, then the general rule is 20 minutes on, 20min off. Unfortunately I've seen my share of heating pad burns from people who left them on too long. Usually either diabetics because they couldn't feel how hot it really was. Or the person fell asleep with it.
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