Marisela teaches nursing courses at the college level. She also works as a unit educator, teaching experienced nurses about changes in nursing practice.
Imagine a wonderful day on a tropical beach. The sun is shining warm and bright, and you are sitting on the sand with a tropical drink in your hand. You are having such a relaxing time that, despite leaving your sunscreen at home, you waste away the whole day there. As you lounge with your favorite book or gossip magazine, you imagine the gorgeous glow that you are developing and how jealous your coworkers will be of your bronze complexion. Only after showering that evening, do you glance in the mirror and see a red tomato staring back at you. You are burned to a crisp and it is painful! Even the clothes on your back rubbing against your sunburned skin hurts. What if there was a topical medication that could help dull that pain until your usually pasty complexion returned? Lucky for you, there is.
Lidocaine is a numbing medication that comes in lots of forms (gel, cream, injection, and patch). It works by deadening the nerve endings in the skin, which, in turn, blocks the pain signal to the brain. This agent is used in numerous medications such as Burnamycin, Lidoderm, and Xylocaine. It causes pain relief without the sedative effects of general anesthesia or narcotic pain medication, which can leave you feeling sleepy (like a bad hangover without the beers). This medication is only available with a doctor's prescription.
This miracle agent is used for a variety of different ailments such as:
- Sunburn or other minor burns
- Insect bites
- Poison ivy, oak or sumac
- Minor cuts or scratches (like when little Billy falls off his skateboard)
- Medical procedures (such as getting your blood drawn at the doctor's office)
- Cosmetic procedures (like laser hair removal)
- Nerve pain following a shingles infection
As with any medication, there are risks involved. Persons with an allergy to lidocaine, should not use this medication in any form. An allergic reaction can include swelling, itching, stomach problems such as vomiting, and shortness of breath. Lidocaine should be used with extreme caution in children under 3, because children absorb medications differently and it may have toxic side effects, especially if swallowed. Furthermore, persons with certain medical conditions such as heart block, shock, or an infection or broken skin around the area of application should consult a physician before using lidocaine.
Like all medications, there are some side effects associated with the use of lidocaine. While side effects are uncommon, it is important to always check with a doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Hives or welts
- Dizziness or fainting
- Redness of the skin
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea and vomiting
Lidocaine is a numbing medicine that is used to block the nerve endings in the skin. This medication comes in a variety of forms including gel, foam, and patches. It helps to relieve pain in persons with a variety of conditions including: sunburn, minor cuts or scratches, insect bites, poison ivy, and nerve pain; it is also used in medical procedures. There are certain people who should not use lidocaine, including those with an allergy to this medicine, children under 3, and/or those with certain medical conditions, such as shock, heart block, or infections or broken skin in the area of application. Although side effects are uncommon, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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