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Old 07-14-2008, 06:28 PM   #1
auburnchick
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How Do You Keep a Compress Hot?
Hey all.

I took my daughter to the doctor today for what I thought was a spider bite.

Not.

She has a staph infection...not good.

The doctor lanced it, gave her antibiotics, and advised us to keep warm compresses on it to help it heal completely.

I've never done this before. We're have a hard time keeping the compress warm.

I'm using a washcloth...wetting it, warming it up in the microwave in a plastic baggie, and then putting it on her affected area (after the cloth cools off a bit).

The problem is that it's cooling off too quickly.

I tried covering the wet cloth with a thin towel and put a heating pad over that, but the cloth is still cooling off too quickly.

Ideas?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #2
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Try insulating the compress. It should keep it warm longer.

Or, if you are handy with a sewing machine:

Materials for Wet Hot Compress
* Three washcloths cut in half
* Sewing machine or needle and thread (sewing machine is best)

Lay all six pieces of washcloth material together and sew around the edges and diagonally across. Wet with water as hot as can be bared, wring out and apply to area in need. While this sounds very basic, it works much better than a washcloth that is simply folded, as the firmly sewn pieces will hold the heat well. Wash and dry after each use.

Materials for a Dry Hot Compress

* Fabric scraps in assorted sizes
* Pinking shears
* Needle and Thread or sewing machine
* Flax Seeds (one half cup per 5x7 inch area)
* Optional additives can include eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint
leaves, chamomile, and lavender

Different fabrics will provide different results in the heating phase. Cotton works well, but can become very hot. Some nylons work well also, but experimentation with your individual choice will provide you with information on what scrap fabrics you have, can or cannot be used. Small sample compresses should be made and heated to assure you of fabrics compatibility.

Assembly

A basic size compress, good for across the forehead, wrist or ankle area, is 5 x 7. With pinking shears, cut four pieces of fabric 6 x 8. Sew two pieces of fabric together on all four sides, wrong sides of fabric together, with a one-inch seam all around. Sew remaining two pieces of fabric together in the same manner. Sew these two together on three sides. Fill with flax seed and optional additives. Sew closed.

Use and Caution

The easiest way to heat your compress is to lay it flat in the microwave for approximately 30 to 60 seconds. Larger compresses may take more time to heat and should be both rotated, flipped, and shaken throughout the heating process at regular intervals to help distribute the heat evenly. Different microwaves heat differently so experimentation will give you the best results. Keep in mind that an overheated compress will burn so be extremely cautious when using.

Storage

Your hot compress should be stored between uses in an airtight container, such as a Ziploc bag or plastic container with airtight lid.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #3
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does your microwave or oven have a "warming" setting? You can keep a few spares in there so when ones gets cold, you can swap easily.

Is she sitting in a drafty area
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:42 PM   #4
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IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about the crock pot???
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Hildegard_von_Knittin View Post
IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What about the crock pot???
So, do I keep the crockpot going with washcloths inside so we can switch them out easily?

Also, it's my thought that we need to immediately throw the used cloths in the washing machine so it doesn't spread, right?

I'm seriously thinking I'm gonna have to take a couple of days off of work to help her manage this...even though she's 16.

Oh, and I keep my house at 80 degrees during the day. Sounds awful, I know, but I don't like expensive electric bills. She is sitting under a ceiling fan, though.

Oh, and how would I insulate the cloth? In a baggie? I'm wondering if the cloth needs to be directly on her skin or if it's the heat that we need.

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I left a message for the nurse to call me back...and she didn't, of course.

Grrr...
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:52 PM   #6
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I don't know if this would work or not, but how about therma-care wraps? I use them for fibromyalgia flare ups all the time. They stay hot for about 8 hours at a time. Of course, if the infection needs to be covered with something hot and wet, the wraps won't work...
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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A quick hot compress is to put some rice into a clean sock and heat it in the microwave. Then again.......this idea depends on whether you can put it directly on her and whether it needs to be sterilized. I guess you could put a clean cloth between the heat and the infected area and just change that.
At any rate, for you both.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
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Thanks, y'all. I think I'm probably making this way more complicated than it needs to be. I just want the infection to get better quickly...she's got a major soccer tournament coming up soon. Plus, staph infections scare the bejeepers out of me.

Sigh...
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:26 PM   #9
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How about one of those hot water bottles wrapped up in a towel?

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:48 PM   #10
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Warm up your wet wet wash cloth.
Apply it to the area.
cover with a towel.
Cover with a heating pad.
Wrap the whole thing up in a bath towel.

That should insulate the heat from the heating pad to keep everything warm.

Is she supposed to do this constantly? Or just several times a day for 20 minutes?

You are right about laundry.If it's draining anything that comes in contact with it should be washed or discarded. Practice lots of good hand washing.
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