Most households have an ice or heat gel pack for emergencies, back pains or chronic issues like arthritis. Using them can be tricky sometimes, especially when it comes to heating a gel pack. Given below is a set of instructions related to hot gel packs, their benefits, directions to heat them in a microwave and necessary precautions that need to be taken while heating and using them.
Hot Gel Packs come in plastic or nylon pouches with a gel-based technology inside them that can convert them into hot or cold gel packs as and when required. They are beneficial for relieving pain or treating injuries. Some other benefits are associated with hot gel packs as well.
Benefits Associated With Hot Gel Packs:
- Hot gel packs aid in recovering from an injury. They help in reducing swelling on an injured part and facilitate healing. However, in treating an injury, they should always be preceded by ice therapy.
- The use of hot gel packs increases the flow of blood into the body part on which it is applied and that helps ease the muscle tightness there. It soothes and comforts that particular body part.
- It is beneficial for patients that have chronic conditions like arthritis, as it gives relaxation from joint pains.
- These gel packs are especially comforting in the cases of cramps and a tight back.
Heating Gel Packs in Microwave?
- Most gel packs can be converted into both hot or Ice gel packs by either freezing or heating. Hot gel packs can be heated by keeping in boiling water or the microwave. Using the microwave is a safer and more efficient option. Follow these instructions while heating your gel pack in a microwave:
- Ensure that the gel pack has been kept at room temperature for a while. If it was in a freezer, keep it at room temperature first.
- Then place the gel pack flat on the turntable inside the microwave. Set the heat at a medium-high or higher temperature and let the pack cook.
- After 20 or 25 seconds, carefully take out the gel pack with the help of oven gloves for a towel. Don’t let the gel pack overheat in the microwave.
- Spread the heat inside the pack by squeezing and distributing the gel in all directions.
- Keep the pack inside the microwave again with 10-second increments until the desired heat range is not achieved.
- After achieving the desired temperature, wrap the heat gel pack in a towel or a cover and apply on the affected body part.
- Typically, a gel pack can retain heat for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the pack and its application.
- Don’t apply heat packs right after an acute injury. The use of heat packs is recommended only after the ice therapy.
- Be careful with a hot gel pack, as it can burn your skin if not used cautiously or as advised.
- Don’t overheat the hot gel pack and apply on a body part only after covering it with the recommended cover, thin cloth or a towel.
- If a heat gel pack breaks or leaks, let it cool down before discarding and cleaning.
Gel packs available in the market are reusable and durable. They can be stored at room temperatures or in the freezer.
For ice therapy, they need to be kept in the freezer for around two hours before use. As a tool of ice therapy, they are used to reduce swelling, pain, inflammation and treat muscle spasms or common sports injuries.
Heating gel packs have often been used to relax muscles, back pain and chronic conditions like arthritis.