Dealing with hematoma

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A hematoma is a localized accumulation of blood under the skin and looks like a reddish blue swelling or bruise. It is typically caused by a blunt disturbance to the body that results to bursting and leakage of the blood vessels.

A large-sized hematoma is a serious condition which puts plenty of pressure on the blood vessels and cause obstruction of blood flow in the area. This condition requires immediate treatment.

Symptoms of hematoma

  • Pain and inflammation of the affected area.
  • The tissue is flooded with blood and results to swelling
  • Redness of the affected area due to accumulation of blood under the surface of the skin or subdermal hematoma.
  • Headaches and confusion
  • A lucid period where the individual eventually becomes unconscious. The lucid period is experienced right after the accumulation of blood and the flow of blood will result to loss of consciousness.
  • Weakness of the extremities


  • Take plenty of rest during the first 48 hours.
  • Immobilize the affected area that keeps the person in a normal structural position such as lying on the back with palms and feet pointed forward. This position helps promote fast healing and prevents further damage if it occurs in the extremities and the joints.
  • Apply a cold compress on the area immediately after the injury on the first 24-48 hours. Apply an ice pack on the affected area after a hematoma starts to develop for at least 15-20 minutes. The cold temperature causes constriction of the blood vessels and lessens swelling and accumulation of blood under the skin.
  • Apply a warm compress after 24-48 hours during the recovery period. It dilates the blood vessels for increased flow of blood in the area and supply of nutrients needed for healing. The warm sensation lessens the pain. Another alternative is taking a warm bath which has a similar effect to a warm compress and dissolves blood clots from the affected area due to the increased blood flow.
  • Massage the affected area in a circular motion or long strokes for proper flow of blood. It also dissolves superficial clots. Stop the massage if pain is triggered.
  • Perform isotonic exercises. These exercises contract both muscles such as the flexors and extensors without producing movement. These contractions increase the return of blood by compressing the blood vessels.
  • Elevate the affected extremities above the level of the heart to lessen the flow and prevent the hematoma from becoming large. Use a couple of pillows in raising the affected area. It also lessens the swelling, proper lymphatic drainage, eliminate of exudates and lessens tissue pressure.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen every 4-6 hours.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and flush toxins out of the body.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on a hematoma is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage wounds by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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