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Contusion In Children

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A contusion is a bruise that appears on your child's skin after an injury. A bruise happens when small blood vessels tear but skin does not. When blood vessels tear, blood leaks into nearby tissue, such as soft tissue or muscle.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child cannot feel or move his injured arm or leg.
  • Your child begins to complain of pressure or a tight feeling in his injured muscle.
  • Your child suddenly has more pain when he moves the injured area.
  • Your child has severe pain in the area of the bruise.
  • Your child's hand or foot below the bruise gets cold or turns pale.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • The injured area is red and warm to the touch.
  • Your child's symptoms do not improve after 4 to 5 days of treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Medicines:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you give your child more medicine.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Help your child's contusion heal:

  • Have your child rest the injured area or use it less than usual. If your child bruised his leg or foot, he may need crutches or a cane to help him walk. This will help him keep weight off his injured body part. Use crutches or a cane as directed.
  • Apply ice to decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your child's bruise for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Use compression. An elastic bandage may be wrapped around a bruised muscle to support the area and decrease swelling. Make sure the bandage is not too tight. You should be able to fit 1 finger between the bandage and your child's skin.
  • Elevate (raise) your child's injured body part above the level of his heart to help decrease pain and swelling. Use pillows, blankets, or rolled towels to elevate the area as often as you can.
  • Do not massage or use heat. Heat and massage may slow healing of the area.
  • Do not let your child stretch injured muscles. Ask your healthcare provider when and how your child may safely stretch after his injury.

Prevent contusions:

  • Do not leave your baby alone on the bed or couch. Watch him closely as he starts to crawl, learns to walk, and when he plays.
  • Make sure your child wears proper protective gear. These include padding and protective gear such as shin guards. He should wear these when he plays sports. Teach your child about safe equipment and places to play, and teach him to follow safety rules.
  • Remove or cover sharp objects in your home. As a very young child learns to walk, he is more likely to get injured on corners of furniture. Remove these items, or place soft pads over sharp edges and hard items in your home.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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