Conditions + Treatments

Bruises

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What is a bruise?

A bruise is a collection of blood underneath the skin that is caused by trauma to an area of the body. Sometimes, enough bleeding occurs that a lump, called a hematoma, also forms. A bruise will usually heal on its own.

Treatment for bruises

A bruise will usually heal on its own, but here are some general guidelines for treatment:

  • Calm your child and let them know you can help.
  • Apply a cold or ice pack for the first 24 hours after injury to help reduce swelling and discomfort. After one or two days, try warm soaks or a warm bath to help the area feel better.
  • If the bruise or swelling is on the lips or in the mouth, offer your child an ice cube or ice pop to suck on.
  • Avoid massaging the bruised area or putting more pressure on it.
  • If the bruise involves a large area on an arm or a leg, elevate the limb to help reduce swelling.

When should I call my child's physician?

Specific treatment for bruises that require more than minor treatment at home will be determined by your child's physician. In general, call your child's physician if your child:

  • bruises often or has recurring bruises without known trauma or cause
  • has increased pain or swelling
  • is unable to move a joint
  • may have broken a bone
  • has injured or bruised an eye
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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
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