However, using OTC medicines still has potential risks. Some interact with other prescription or OTC medicines, supplements, foods or beverages. Others cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any OTC medicines for eczema.
You should never take OTC eczema drugs for longer durations or in higher doses than the product label recommends. In fact, people with AD have a greater chance of developing comorbidities or related health conditions, namely asthma, hay fever and food allergies. To help combat itch and curb inflammation if you have allergies, a healthcare provider may suggest antihistamines.
Some antihistamines also contain sedatives that can help people sleep. To address common eczema symptoms such as burning, pain and inflammation, a healthcare provider may also suggest OTC pain relievers such as:. Topical OTC hydrocortisone is a low potency steroid and works on the skin by reducing irritation, itching and inflammation.
OTC steroids come in many forms, including ointments, creams, lotions and gels. They are used for the temporary relief of itching and rashes caused by most types of eczema. OTC hydrocortisone is usually applied one to four times a day for up to seven days. Follow the directions on the label carefully. Do not use OTC steroids more often or longer than recommended on the label or by your healthcare provider. Medicated OTC shampoos containing ingredients such as ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, coal tar and zinc pyrithione help with symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp also known as dandruff.
For long-term skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis you may need to use hydrocortisone for longer. To reduce the risk of side effects your doctor may recommend that you only use hydrocortisone for a few weeks at a time. Do not use a hydrocortisone on your face unless a doctor has told you to and given you a prescription for it. The skin on your face is delicate, so if hydrocortisone damages it, it's particularly noticeable. Some common skin problems that affect the face, such as impetigo , rosacea and acne , can be made worse by hydrocortisone.
Using hydrocortisone for a long time without stopping can mean some of the medicine gets into your blood. If this happens, there's a very small chance it can cause serious side effects, such as adrenal gland problems, high blood sugar hyperglycaemia , or problems with your eyesight. If you have been using hydrocortisone for a long time, your doctor may tell you to gradually reduce the amount you use before stopping completely.
But tell the doctor or nurse that you're using hydrocortisone cream so they can give the vaccine in an untreated area of skin. Hydrocortisone for skin does not affect any types of contraception, including the combined pill or the emergency contraception. Hydrocortisone does not make you sleepy, so it's safe to drive, ride a bike, or use tools and machinery when using this medicine. Page last reviewed: 10 December Next review due: 10 December About hydrocortisone for skin Hydrocortisone skin treatments can be used to treat swelling, itching and irritation.
They can help with the symptoms of: eczema psoriasis contact dermatitis prickly heat rash insect bites and stings nappy rash Most hydrocortisone skin treatments are mild and are available to buy from pharmacies. They come as: cream ointment lotion Creams for nappy rash and other skin problems in children under 10 years old are only available on prescription. Other types of hydrocortisone There are other ways of taking or using hydrocortisone, including tablets and injections. Most people need to use hydrocortisone treatments once or twice a day for 1 to 2 weeks.
But if you buy it from a pharmacy or shop, do not use it for more than 1 week, talk to a doctor first. Never put hydrocortisone on your face unless your doctor says it's OK and has given you a prescription for it. It can make some skin problems worse like impetigo , rosacea and acne.
Only use hydrocortisone skin treatments on children under 10 years old if a doctor recommends it. Creams you can buy are not supposed to be used on the eyes, around the bottom or genitals, or on broken or infected skin. Hydrocortisone butyrate is stronger than other types of hydrocortisone for skin. It's only available on prescription and is known by the brand name Locoid.
Most adults and children aged 10 years and over can use hydrocortisone skin treatments. Tell your pharmacist or doctor before starting the medicine if you: have ever had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine have a skin infection or eye infection are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you're breastfeeding. Hydrocortisone is available as a cream, ointment and lotion. Hydrocortisone cream and ointment Creams are better for skin that is moist and weepy.
Important: Fire warning Skin creams can dry onto your clothes and bedding. A fingertip unit is generally enough to treat both sides of your hand. A fingertip unit of cream Credit:. How to use skin cream or ointment Wash and dry your hands and then squeeze out the right amount.
Spread the cream or ointment in a thin layer over the area of irritated skin. Carefully smooth it into your skin in the direction the hair grows until it disappears. Use the cream on all the irritated skin, not just the worst areas. Be careful not to get the cream into broken skin or cuts.
Wash your hands afterwards unless you are treating the skin on your hands. How to use hydrocortisone skin lotion Lotion is better for treating large or hairier areas of skin. You will usually use hydrocortisone skin lotion once or twice a day. Use a small amount of lotion on the affected areas of skin. Wash and dry your hands. Spread the lotion in a thin layer over the area of irritated skin.
Carefully smooth it into your skin in the direction that your hair grows. Use the lotion on all the irritated skin, not just the worst areas. Be careful not to get the lotion on broken skin or cuts. Using hydrocortisone with other skin creams Do not apply hydrocortisone at the same time as other creams or ointments such as a moisturiser. How long to use it for Most people only need to use hydrocortisone skin treatments for a short time. What if I forget to put it on?
Serious side effects You're more likely to have a serious side effect if you use a strong hydrocortisone treatment such as hydrocortisone butyrate or if you use hydrocortisone on a large patch of skin for a long time. Talk to your doctor if you're worried about the risks of your child using hydrocortisone. Serious allergic reaction It's extremely rare to have an allergic reaction anaphylaxis to hydrocortisone, but if this happens to you get medical help straight away.
Information: You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme. Visit Yellow Card for further information. Important For safety, tell your pharmacist or doctor if you're trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you're breastfeeding. Important: Medicine safety Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements. How does hydrocortisone work?
When will my skin get better? Your skin should start to get better after using hydrocortisone for a few days. How long will I use hydrocortisone skin treatments for? How long you use it for depends on why you're using it. Once your skin is better, use moisturisers to keep it from becoming inflamed again.
Can I use hydrocortisone skin treatments on my face? If your doctor has prescribed hydrocortisone for your face, follow their instructions carefully. Do not put hydrocortisone near your eyes or on your eyelids. Is it safe to use for a long time? Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol while using hydrocortisone. Is there any food or drink I need to avoid? No, you can eat and drink normally while using hydrocortisone. Can I still have vaccinations? Using hydrocortisone cream does not stop you or your child having vaccinations.
Will it affect my fertility? Will it affect my contraception?
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