Disclaimer

Medical Advice in this blog is based on experience and education from myself and my colleagues. For all medical emergencies please go to the Emergency Department if one is available or call 911. For serious conditions medical providers should always be your first line of defense. This blog is NOT a substitute for a DOCTOR. For Chronic conditions please seek out a specialist in that area.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Butter on a Bruise?

Yes it works. If you haven’t heard, if you get punched in the face or bump your noggin, you should put butter on in right away. This will help prevent bruising and I’ll tell you why. Your skin is very vascular (meaning lots of blood vessels in it) when you bounce your fore head off of a pole the tissue gets irritated and releases histamines into the surrounding area. The histamines break down the cell walls of your blood vessels and cause you to bleed into the tissue thus presenting a bruise. The cell walls of your vessels are made up of phospholipids and that is what is dissolved when the histamine is released. Granted a number of vessels break on impact but not so many it goes all the way up to your knee when you sprain your ankle, once again histamine is the culprit. Anyway back to the butter. Butter is full of fat which is high in phosphate; phosphate is the leading ingredient in phospholipids which make up the blood vessel cell walls. By applying butter you sustain those phospholipids and prevent bleeding into the tissue. This is the same reason putting raw steak on a potential bruise can help, because it is packed with phosphate. Now a cold pack that you all are so familiar with helps slow the release of histamines and reduce the chemical reaction brought on by it. But in the end it won’t stop the histamine forever. And that is the why behind the butter on the bruise. P.S. using real butter is better than margarine but margarine will still work because it is fortified with phosphate.

14 comments:

  1. I have a one year old who falls down and bonks her head a LOT! We've tried this and it works miracles! If there's a mark afterwards, it's very faint.

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    1. Honey on a sunburn was covered in an earlier blog. You can jump there by following this link: http://ucanmedic.blogspot.com/2010/04/not-so-fun-in-sun.html

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  3. I have two little ones under 3 and I am also a pharmacist. Today my 15month old fell and hit his forehead, which immediatly started swelling up and bruising. He would not let us put ice on it (which was our first response to do)and remembered a friend telling us to put butter on it (he does it on his kid all the time). Initially we thought "what a dumb idea, how is butter going to help" but we had nothing to loose (since the ice was out of the question). Five hours later and there is no bruise and a little bump but not noticable...We have become believers!!! I think I will be recommending this to my patients.

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  4. Are the histamines doing anything useful by breaking down the cell walls?

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    1. Thanks David for your question. Histamines have a many roles in the body, one of the biggest ones is activating the immune response. It makes the tissue more permeable and sends signals to the immune system to come in and clean house. Sometimes the histamines get a little carried away and over react, this is widely known as an allergic reaction. In the case of a bruise you really don't need the histamines to do their job because there is no real threat to your immune system.

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  5. I learned this tip years ago when my oldest son got kicked in the head by another child on a swing set. Another parent told me to use butter, and although I thought it sounded stupid, I did it just to humor the other mom. But it worked! It doesn't completely disappear, but it does GREATLY reduce the swelling and discoloration. My family has been using butter for injuries for years now, even my kids ask for it when injured.

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  6. Thanks! The best blog I found after 20 minutes. I am a mom who birthed 6 of my own and am raising 16 altogether, and over the past 20 years I have seen some BUMPS! I was helping my 3 year old who has a golf ball sized bump today with ice. but I forgot about the salt and butter magic. My friend said she does both, I thought that was nuts. We did ice, after he nursed himself calm, we read books, and rubbed salt and butter on it. He forgot all about it. Tomorrow we will see it half the size, and it is so much easier than fighting an ice-pack resister. GBU. JMom

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  7. Do U have to put the butter on straight away or can U put it on the day after? I've only just found this thread & my little girl bumped her forehead yesterday!

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  8. If the bruise has not yet formed it will help prevent one from forming but if the bruise is already there it won't do help it go away any faster.

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  9. If the bruise has not yet formed it will help prevent one from forming but if the bruise is already formed It will help reduce the bruising in less time.

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  10. My 2 month old baby had a fall on her head this morning. But doesn't have any bumps.she seems fine.do you recommend that I should still apply butter all over her head.

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    1. If you know what part of her head got the bonk I would just put butter on that spot. it should show up a litte red. The idea is to put butter on it to prevent a bruise from forming. Good luck with your 2 month old. when she gets to 2 yrs old you will have plenty of opportunities to deploy the "butter on a bruise" technique.

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