Bumping into something and then waking up with a gnarly bruise the next day is a common occurrence; however, waking up the next day with a gnarly bruise with no real explanation isn’t. If this has happened to you, what’s the cause?

Our AFC Urgent Care NC team provides some helpful explanations below, so keep reading!

What Is a Bruise, Exactly?

Blood vessels beneath the skin pop as a result of force or trauma, resulting in a bruise. Blood pools beneath the skin when they pop, causing discoloration that is commonly brown, blue, yellow, black, green or red in appearance.

Bruises are easily treated and rarely need medical attention to fully heal. If you or your child gets a bruise, follow the steps below to appropriately treat it.

How to Treat Bruises

  • Cold compress. If bruising has caused pain and swelling, applying a cold compress is step one. Remember to put a barrier, such as a towel or cloth, between the cold object and skin. Place the compress on yours or your child’s skin for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Elevation. If an arm or leg is involved, elevate the limb and apply a cold compress for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, or until the swelling is reduced.
  • Over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen.

Do Some People Bruise Easier Than Others?

They do, in fact. Age is one of the most common causes of increased bruising. As you get older, the fatty layer beneath your skin thins out, causing blood vessels to weaken and become more vulnerable to injury. Blood vessels that are weaker provide less protection against a knock against a table or chair, resulting in easier bruising.

Age isn’t the only explanation, though, and we’ve listed a few more reasons why you could be more susceptible to frequent bruising below.

Reasons You May Bruise Easier

  • Medications. Certain medications, like blood thinners, antibiotics and steroids, can contribute to your blood not being able to clot as well, which can leave you prone to bruising.
  • Family history. Not only do things like freckles and moles run in the family, but frequent bruising can, too. Plus, women usually have more delicate blood vessels, which can lead to more bruising.
  • Too much sun. Years and years of spending lots of time in the sun without adequate sunscreen protection can weaken the walls of your blood vessels, which can make them vulnerable to damage that leads to bruises.

In even rarer cases, low blood and platelet counts can be the cause of lots of bruising. Our AFC Urgent Care NC centers offer CBC and blood panel tests, so don’t hesitate to visit if you believe you need one! We’re here for you seven days a week.