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How do I Treat a Rash with Hydrocortisone?

To treat a rash with hydrocortisone, first clean the affected area. Apply a thin layer of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, following the product's instructions carefully. Use it sparingly to avoid skin thinning, and don't cover it with bandages unless directed. Monitor the rash's response; if it persists, consult a doctor. Wondering about potential side effects or alternative remedies? Continue reading for comprehensive insights.
K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning

In order to treat a rash with hydrocortisone, the medication usually must be applied topically several times each day. It is a low-potency, anti-inflammatory drug from the steroid class of treatments. The medication comes in prescription and over-the-counter versions and can be used in several forms, including creams, sprays, and gels. It is applied to the skin several times a day until the rash goes away. The drug also helps to relieve itchy skin.

There are several forms of application that can be used to treat a rash with hydrocortisone. The drug comes in an ointment, cream, lotion, gel, or liquid. It can also be applied via a spray or a towelette that has been soaked in the medication. A typical prescription or over-the-counter product will require that the drug be applied at least four times a day for full effectiveness. It may not be safe to put other products, such as cosmetics, on an area that has been treated with hydrocortisone.

Hydrocortisone should be kept away from the eyes.
Hydrocortisone should be kept away from the eyes.

Before an application of topical hydrocortisone, the portion of skin to be treated must be well rinsed. After the product has been gently rubbed into the moist skin, the treated area is usually covered with lightly secured plastic wrap, with a portion left open or punctured so that air can reach the skin. The plastic is then covered with a bandage, gauze, or medical tape both so that the medication can sink into the skin and so that it will not rub off. The entire dressing should be changed with each new application of the drug, and should not be left on the treated area longer than 12 hours.

Some parts of the body do not react well to treatment of a rash with hydrocortisone. It can harm skin on the face and in the genital and armpit areas if used for too long. The drug should also be kept away from the eyes.

Hydrocortisone may harm the skin on armpit areas if used for too long.
Hydrocortisone may harm the skin on armpit areas if used for too long.

The mild side effects of products made to treat a rash with hydrocortisone include acne, burning, itching, and drying or cracking skin. These symptoms only need to be discussed with a doctor if they become more serious or do not eventually go away. More severe side effects of hydrocortisone include a severe rash, wheezing, or breathing difficulties. Some patients may also get a skin infection, which is indicated by oozing pus, redness, and swelling. These serious effects should be reported to a doctor immediately.

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Discussion Comments

Rundocuri
@Heavanet: It is important to have a reoccurring rash checked out by your doctor. He or she will be able to determine the root cause, and possibly prescribe a stronger formula of hydrocortisone. This should take care of your problem.
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    • Hydrocortisone should be kept away from the eyes.
      By: Antonioguillem
      Hydrocortisone should be kept away from the eyes.
    • Hydrocortisone may harm the skin on armpit areas if used for too long.
      By: gawriloff
      Hydrocortisone may harm the skin on armpit areas if used for too long.
    • Side effects of hydrocortisone may include acne.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Side effects of hydrocortisone may include acne.
    • Side effects of hydrocortisone may include itching.
      By: lacamerachiara
      Side effects of hydrocortisone may include itching.
    • Some rashes can be treated by using a hydrocortisone spray.
      By: AlexOakenman
      Some rashes can be treated by using a hydrocortisone spray.
    • Hydrocortisone cream should be applied multiple times throughout the day.
      By: carroteater
      Hydrocortisone cream should be applied multiple times throughout the day.
    • Topical hydrocortisone can be used to treat itchy poison ivy rashes.
      By: librakv
      Topical hydrocortisone can be used to treat itchy poison ivy rashes.