e. Boric Acid Solution. Boric acid may be used in the form of solution,
ointment, or dusting powder. A two percent boric acid solution used on a wet pack is
very effective in relieving itching, burning, and pain of skin lesions. Additionally, boric
acid solution acts as a disinfectant. Boric acid solution may be prescribed in water or in
normal saline solution.
f. Cool Starch Baths. Two cups of starch to a bathtub of warm water can
reduce pruritus. Caution the patient to be careful getting in or out of the bathtub
because the starch can make the tub slippery.
g. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Benadryl is an antihistamine used primarily
in allergic reactions. This drug is a general preparation used for its antihistamine
properties. It is useful in relieving bronchial spasms as well as serum reactions,
urticaria, and drug reactions.
h. Calamine Lotion, Phenolated and Mentholated. This product is used as an
astringent (an agent to dry mucous secretions, shrink skin, reduce inflammation of
mucous membranes, promote healing, toughen skin) and as a protectant. Both these
actions aid in reducing inflammation associated with insect bites, poison ivy, and
sunburn. Phenol and menthol may be added to calamine lotion to produce an
antipruritic (relieve itching) effect. Tell the patient using this product that the preparation
is for external use only. The lotion must be shaken well before using it. Calamine lotion
is soothing and drying. It may be applied locally three to four times daily or as needed
for acute skin problems. Avoid using this medication for long periods of time; such use
causes excessive drying.
i. Oatmeal. A commercial preparation of colloidal oatmeal or just oatmeal from
the grocery store cereal section may be used in a bath as a soothing, cleansing, and
anti-itching agent. An oatmeal bath is recommended for itching, hives, sunburn, poison
ivy, prickly heat, diaper rash, and chapped skin. Add one cupful and soak in the tub for
30 minutes to one hour. Pat the skin dry with a towel; do not rub the skin. The oatmeal,
whether in regular or colloidal form, makes the bath tub very slippery so caution patients
to be careful when getting in or out of the bathtub.
a. General. As the name implies, these medications deal with skin lesions that
are inflamed. Inflammation is a tissue reaction to irritation, infection, or injury
characterized by localized heat, swelling, redness, and pain. Steroids applied to the
inflamed area are the most effective treatment. Steroids affect the epidermis and the
dermis in diseased skin and reduce swelling, redness, and pain. Even though an anti-
inflammatory agent reduces inflammation, the agent does not cure the problem if the
cause of inflammation persists.