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This medication is used to treat a variety of skin conditions (e.g., insect bites, poison oak/ivy, eczema, dermatitis, allergies, rash, itching of the outer female genitals, anal itching). Hydrocortisone reduces the swelling, itching, and redness that can occur in these types of conditions. This medication is a mild corticosteroid.
There are many hydrocortisone products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products require a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of the product that is best for you.
Use this medication on the skin only. However, do not use it on the face or underarms unless directed to do so by your doctor. Some products are meant to be used on the scalp for various conditions. To correctly use these products, follow the directions on the product package.
Wash and dry your hands before using. Clean and dry the affected area. If you are using the lotion or foam, shake it well just before using. If you are using the spray, check the product package to see if it needs to be shaken before each use. Apply a small amount of medication to the affected area and gently rub in, usually up to 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor or the product package. Dosage and length of treatment depends on the type of condition being treated. Do not bandage, cover, or wrap the area unless directed to do so by your doctor. If used in or near the diaper area on an infant, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants.
After applying the medication, wash your hands, unless the hands are being treated. Avoid getting this medication in the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get the medication in these areas, rinse with plenty of water. If irritation occurs or continues, contact your doctor right away.
Use this medication only for the condition for which it was prescribed or a condition that is listed on the product package. Do not use it for longer than directed by the product package or your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens after 7 days or if you think you may have a serious medical problem.
Stinging, burning, irritation, dryness, or redness at the application site may occur. Acne, unusual hair growth, "hair bumps" (folliculitis), skin thinning/discoloration, or stretch marks may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
If the treated area starts to bleed, especially if you are using this product for anal itching, contact your doctor right away.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before using hydrocortisone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone, triamcinolone); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
If you have any health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product.
If you have itching of the outer female genitals with vaginal discharge, consult your doctor before using this product.
Do not use if there is an infection or sore in the area to be treated. Skin infections can become worse when this medication is used. Tell your doctor promptly if redness, swelling, or irritation does not improve.
Children may be more sensitive to the effects of too much corticosteroid medication. Consult your doctor for more details.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk when applied to the skin. Similar medications pass into breast milk when taken by mouth. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Refer to the storage information printed on the package. Protect from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Keep all drug products away from children and pets.
If you are taking this product under your doctor's direction, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
If prescribed by your doctor, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription or nonprescription/herbal products you may use before using this product.
Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
If prescribed by your doctor, use this medication for your current condition only. Do not use it later for other skin problems unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in those cases.
Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments.