How soon after I start using anti-itch remedies will my symptoms improve?

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How quickly anti-itch creams and ointments work may depend on whether they are prescription-strength or over-the-counter, where you are itchy, and what the cause of your itch is. These products are known as topical medications, to be applied to your skin. Topical anti-itch medications often contain hydrocortisone, an active ingredient that gets absorbed into the skin, calming the inflammation that can cause itchiness. If your itchiness occurs on a part of the body where your skin is thick or calloused, the hydrocortisone will take longer to absorb. Other topical medications may contain an antihistamine or a painkiller (helpful for painful burns). If you do not get quick relief from an over-the-counter medication, talk to your pharmacist about other options. If your skin remains itchy for more than a week -- or gets better and then gets itchy again -- call your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.