Monday, September 13, 2010
Stop that Itch! Medicine Cabinet Staple # 5
I am focusing on what medications doctors keep in their home cabinets, and the next item on the list is not a pill, but a cream: HYDROCORTISONE cream or ointment. This is a steroid- not the pump you up/Arnold Schwarzeneggerr type steroid- this is the anti-inflammatory steroid. Grab this when you need to stop an immediate irritation on the skin, such as bug bites or poison ivy. If you've got something new, red and itchy on your skin, very likely this cream will help!
Having said that, know that there certainly are infections or other skin conditions that will not improve with steroid cream, and indeed can be made worse. Obviously, if your itchy rash is not rapidly improving, see your doctor!
This is not something to use on your face or other tender parts, however. Limit your use primarily to your extremities (arms, legs, fingers and toes) and trunk (back, chest and belly). Steroid creams are also not for long-term use, as they can cause thinning and damage to the skin if used chronically.
BOTTOM LINE: For insect bites & stings, and other new itchy "things", try some over-the-counter strength topical steroid cream.