Lidocaine spray is a type of topical anesthetic most often used to numb the inside of the mouth and throat. It is usually dispensed in single dose applications, and is commonly used prior to medical procedures that may require inserting a tube into the throat. In addition to numbing the mouth and throat, lidocaine also inhibits the gag reflex, a reflex that can make tube insertion more difficult. Lidocaine spray is also used for various types of first aid treatment, including sunburn, insect bites, and minor cuts and abrasions.
In addition to pain relieving properties, lidocaine spray is also used to help control itching. It has been shown to be particularly effective in controlling itching due to allergic reactions, such as itching from exposure to poison oak and poison ivy. In addition, the spray is sometimes used as a veterinary treatment. A type of lidocaine called allercaine is used to treat “hot spots” on dogs, which are patches of dermatitis prone to constant itching.
Lidocaine is generally not available without a doctor’s prescription. It is considered too powerful and misuse can cause serious side effects. Many people who have received a prescription for lidocaine may want to keep any leftovers of the medication for use in their first aid kit. This is probably not a good idea, because lidocaine spray is considered a very powerful anesthetic. As with any type of medication, users should follow the recommended dosage prescribed by a physician, and should never share the medication with others.
Side effects of lidocaine spray are usually mild, but in some cases can be severe. Some of the more serious side effects could include difficulty breathing, swelling in the face or mouth, and pain in the chest. These symptoms indicate the need for immediate medical attention. Other less severe side effects include rash and skin irritation. People who experience even mild side effects after using lidocaine should discontinue its use until they can consult with their physician.
Many types of sprays and ointments have been developed that tend to mimic the effects of lidocaine spray, and most of these are available without a doctor’s prescription. Some of these alternatives may be especially helpful for those who are allergic to lidocaine. Most of the treatments contain a chemical called benzocaine, and are usually available as sprays or ointments. Benzocaine is generally considered safer than lidocaine, and though it usually works equally well in controlling itching, it does not numb the skin or bring as much pain relief as does lidocaine.