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The First Aider

Sickle Cell Disease: Hot & Cold Therapy for Pain & Physical Activity

November 25, 2013

Dr. James B. Herrick, a United States cardiologist, discovered sickle cell disease (SCD) in 1910; however, Africans had been suffering from it for at least 5,000 years prior to his official discovery of the disease. Sickle cell disease is a genetic disease caused by a mutation in a gene, and it affects red blood cells. Normal red blood cells are circular and flexible, which allows them to move easily through the blood vessels. Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to be curved like a sickle (a tool that is used to cut grain). It is difficult for these pointed, inflexible, and sticky cells to travel through the narrow blood vessels. This results in cells that get stuck and are not able to carry oxygen efficiently, which can cause pain, damage to the organs, a low blood count, or anemia.

Physical activity is important if you have SCD, but it is imperative that you do not overwork yourself, that you take breaks when tired, and that you drink a sufficient amount of water.

Hot and cold therapy is an excellent way to treat SCD. A heat pack can help relieve pain associated with sickle cell disease. Hot packs work by widening blood vessels, which in turn relaxes your muscles.

An ice pack is another drug-free way to relieve pain caused by SCD. Ice packs do the opposite of hot packs. They narrow blood vessels, which reduces swelling and inflammation. Athletes with SCD need to keep their body temperature cool when working out, especially in hot, humid conditions. One example of an athlete with sickle cell disease is Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has a website called Cure League that raises money to tackle sickle cell.

All THERA°PEARL gel packs are reusable and can be used for both hot and cold therapy. The THERA°PEARL Sports Pack is a convenient way to keep cool during exercise. The Round “Pearl” Pack and Oval Pack can be heated or chilled to treat pain. If swelling of the hands and feet occur, the THERA°PEARL Contour Pack is ideal. Read More

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

November 15, 2013


You may need to have a tooth extracted if you have a wisdom tooth that doesn’t have sufficient room to grow, a tooth that is extremely damaged, or extra teeth.

You may encounter stiffness of your jaw muscles after dental surgery, which can make opening your mouth difficult. Applying hot packs to the affected areas is an easy and effective way to treat jaw stiffness. Hot packs will also help any residual swelling when used 36-hours after surgery.

It is normal for bruising and swelling to occur the day after a dental extraction. Immediately applying cold packs to the affected areas for 24-36 hours can decrease swelling. You should place an ice pack on one cheek for 15 minutes, and then put it on the other cheek for the same amount of time.

When your cheeks are in need of a hot & cold pack, the THERA°PEARL Round “Pearl” Pack is the perfect fit. The THERA°PEARL Cold Face Mask is a great choice when you need pain relief on both sides of your face at one time.

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