Hydrocortisone for Itching

Topic Overview

Hydrocortisone cream, gel, or ointment is available without a prescription. It is commonly used to treat skin inflammation and itching.

Precautions

  • Carefully read and follow all label directions on the medicine bottle or box.
  • Do not use the cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not use in the diaper area unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not use in the rectal or vaginal area on children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not continue to use the cream if there is no improvement after 48 hours.
  • Do not continue to use the cream longer than 4 to 5 days unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Do not use hydrocortisone cream on weeping, scraped, or infected skin.
  • Avoid getting the cream in the eyes.
  • Use very sparingly on facial rashes and on the back of the hands.

Dosage: Apply to the rash area 4 times a day. Rub the cream in well.

Side effects

  • Burning
  • Increased itching
  • Increase in rash
  • Skin infection

If side effects occur, stop using the cream. Call your doctor if treatment of the condition is still needed.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 21, 2012

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