Lidocaine ointment is a type of medication that is applied directly to external body surfaces. It is used to treat pain and itching due to minor skin irritations and rashes. It is also used as a topical anesthetic to treat minor pain in the mouth and throat. Methods of application depend primarily on the condition being treated and the location.
For skin conditions such as sunburn, minor scrapes and rashes, lidocaine ointment should be applied first to a sterile gauze pad, directly from the container, usually some type of squeeze tube. This prevents contamination of the remaining ointment. Then, the ointment should be gently applied, using a circular motion, to the affected area. It is not necessary to rub the ointment until it is completely absorbed. Simply rubbing it onto the surface a little is sufficient. Minor cuts and other skin injuries can also be treated this way.
Even though ointment can be absorbed by the skin, lidocaine ointment is not generally used on unbroken skin. It will not help the pain from a bruise, for example. Only conditions on the skin surface such as sunburn and rashes will be affected. Lidocaine ointment is effective as a treatment for both pain and itching, and so may be useful for treating insect bites and conditions like shingles. In all cases, the gauze pad application method is preferred.
When used in the mouth, lidocaine ointment should be applied using a sterile swab. Apply the ointment directly to the swab from the tube. Dry the surface to be treated as thoroughly as possible and apply ointment promptly. This will help the ointment to stick and be absorbed. It may be beneficial to use cotton balls to absorb saliva until the ointment is absorbed and has had a chance to take effect.
Using lidocaine ointment orally requires some special considerations. It can numb the area affected and so increases the patient's risk of accidentally biting his or her tongue or inside of the cheek. It also can interfere with swallowing. For these reasons, no food or drink, chewing gum, or candy should be used or consumed for at least an hour after use.
As with any medication, you should follow the instructions that come with lidocaine ointment. or follow your doctor's instructions for it's use. Some people may be allergic to the medication, and some other medical conditions may preclude its use as well, so it is important to thoroughly read any information that accompanies the medication