How to do a fomentation

What is fomentation?

A local application of moist heat by means of cloth wrung from boiling water or from steam tank.

Effects:

  1. Increase blood flow to the area.
  2. Relaxes muscles.
  3. Sedative effect, if applied to the spine.
  4. Relieves pain
  5. Relaxes spasms of cramps.
  6. Relieves congestion.
  7. Produces sweating.

Things Needed

  • At least five bath towels.
  • A small basin of ice water.
  • One washcloth or small towel for compress.
  • One blanket or sheet to cover the patient.
  • One kettle or “kaserola” for boiling water.

Procedure:

  1. Remove patient’s clothing and cover with sheet or blanket.
  2. Have basin of ice water and compress at bedside of the patient.
  3. Close windows near patient’s bed to avoid drafts.
  4. Cover area to be treated with one bath towel.
  5. Wring out one bath towel from boiling water.
  6. Spread the dry towel on the table and wrap the hot towel.
  7. Apply the hot towel to the body area treated, over the dry towel.
  8. Apply cold compress to the patient’s head. Change it three times during the applications of each fomentation.
  9. Give three changes of hot fomentation, drying the treated area quickly between applications. Change the fomentation every five (5) minutes of until the water gets warm or cool. Don’t wait until the towel gets cold before removing it.
  10. Have hot towel ready before used hot towel is removed from treated area.
  11. After the last fomentation, rub the area quickly with cold compress wrung from ice water
  12. Dry throughly and give sponge or warm bath if desired.
  13. Let patient rest after the treatment.

Precautions:

  • Protect sensitive parts of body like body areas, and also recent scars. Very thin have bony areas, only warm fomentation is recommended.
  • In cases of severe pain, have fomentation as as hot as could be tolerated without burning patient.
  • If fomentation is unbearably hot, rub areas with the hand under the hot towel or double the towel insulator.
  • Avoid chilling patient. If patient’s feet are cold wrap feet with hot fomentations taking precautions not to burn heels and toes.
  • Be extremely careful with diabetic and unconscious patients. Children and elderly patients are sensitive to heat. They have poor sensation and are easily burned. Give only warm fomentation.

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