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What should we do with swelling? (Part 2)

Burns. The treatment for first degree burns is to stop the burn at its source and then cool the area for ten minutes. Usually, the skin will heal itself and shed in a few days to weeks. If there is blistering over more than ten percent of the body or if the burn is deeper than the epidermis, it is considered a medical emergency. You should absolutely go to the hospital immediately.

Sprains and strains. These generally occur in the joints of our appendages when we overextend or tear the ligaments (which connect bone to bone) or the muscular tendons (which connect bone to muscle). This kind of injury will often require immobilization or surgery to heal properly. You should definitely consult a physician.

However, in the short term, it would be a good idea to follow the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation treatment plan. Ice will definitely help to reduce the swelling.

Swelling due to disease or infection

Localized infections. Infections are caused when a foreign species of microorganisms takes up residence in our body, usually in an unnatural opening such as a cut or scratch. These organisms— bacterial, viral, fungal, or protozoan—are just trying to live their lives at our expense. Of course, our bodies don’t think much of that and produce an immune response which includes inflammation. The best treatment is to keep the infected area clean, and, in some cases, it may be necessary to treat the infection with antibiotics to prevent a wider infection.

Organ failure. There are quite a few diseases that can cause generalized swelling, usually by impacting the circulatory system in some way (hypertension or anemia), or by blocking the lymphatic system (due to surgery, trauma, or infection). Diseases that impact the liver and renal systems can also cause swelling. If the body’s natural filtration system is unable to keep up with the toxins we humans ingest every day, these minerals can build up in the blood stream. Unfortunately, the prognosis isn’t good for this kind of disease. Dialysis is an option, but not a permanent one.

Swelling due to an allergic reaction. Part of our body’s immune system is a substance called histamine. In response to injuries, it causes inflammation. Similarly, it is part of the antibody response involved in allergic reactions. Common allergies. In the case of minor allergies—such as pollen, dander, or dust—hives, swelling around the face and a runny nose are commonplace.

Anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a scary thing that is becoming more common these days. The allergen could be just about anything, but the most common ones are: venom from stinging insects, tree nuts, and peanuts. There has been promising work done to see if it is possible to build up immunity to such allergens with repeated, very small exposures. It is quite likely, though, that the person is unaware that the condition even exists—which makes it really quite a bad way to find out. Upon exposure to the allergen, itchiness and hives come on quite quickly, and the sufferer can easily become incapacitated as swelling around the throat can block their airway and possibly kill them. In any case, you should go to the doctor as soon as you can.

Treatment Ideas

For the most part, swelling will go away on its own as long as it isn’t part of a larger condition. Here is what is recommended for the everyday treatment of swelling:

Believe it or not, one of the ways to prevent excess swelling and help injuries heal is right there in your water pipes. Drink plenty of water and natural juices. A well-hydrated body works well and can eliminate waste substances more quickly. If swelling is caused by a mild sprain or twist of a joint or muscle you should be able to reduce swelling with cold compresses or ice packs.

Rest & Protection: Try not to irritate or re-injure the swollen area.

Compression & Immobilization: If the swelling is surrounding a bone or joint injury, the area should be wrapped in a bandage or immobilized to prevent further injury and swelling.

Elevation: Assuming the swollen area is an injured arm or leg, elevating it will improve circulation, as well as reducing swelling and pain from toxic build-up.

Get Rid of Swelling Naturally

Ice. Ice is the most commonly recommended remedy for swelling. Be sure to restrict exposure to 15 minutes. Wrapping the ice in a cloth will ensure you don’t end up with frostbite.

Poultice. It is said that a slice of a cucumber or a potato does wonders for swollen eyelids.

Epsom salt baths. Immersing your achy, swollen joints in a warm Epsom salt bath relieves pain and can increase circulation.

Elevation. Putting a pillow under your legs when you sleep will help reduce swelling in your ankles.

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