What Is a Topical Anesthetic?
One of the effects of an anesthetic is a loss of feeling. A topical anesthetic is a medicinal product that can be used externally or internally. This is often done to relieve pain or itching associated with conditions such as sunburn, eczema, and arthritis. There are numerous products in this category. Some are available over the counter while others are available by prescription only.
The main purpose of using a topical anesthetic is to create a feeling of numbness. If a person is suffering from the burning and itching associated with eczema, for example, she may rub such a product on the site where she is experiencing the problem. The topical anesthetic works by temporarily blocking the feelings of the nerve endings. Such a product does not heal any conditions; it only makes living with them more bearable.
A topical anesthetic is not always used to relieve discomfort. Sometimes topical anesthetics are applied to avoid discomfort. This may be done, for example, before a dental procedure. The dentist may massage a topical anesthetic into a patient’s gums.
Topical anesthetics are also used to numb areas where needles will be inserted into the skin. In many cases, this is preparation for the use of stronger anesthetics which will be administered by way of injection. This may also be done before blood extraction or the insertion of needles for various intravenous fluids.
Topical anesthetics come in a number of forms. These include creams, gels, and sprays. The best form depends upon the reason that the product is needed and the area of the body for which it is needed. For many people, the word “topical” may suggest that these products can only be used externally. This is not the case.
There are numerous instances when a topical anesthetic may be used to numb an orifice such as the nose, mouth, or vagina. The word “topical” in this sense merely indicates that these anesthetic products are not injected. The effects experienced from a topical anesthetic can vary. Circumstances, such as which product is used and how much is applied, can have a significant impact. The strongest products tend to be available only by prescription.
Misuse of topical anesthetics can sometimes result in harm. One good example of this is situations where these products are used excessively to relieve eye pain. This overuse can cause permanent damage to the eye. Adverse effects may also be experienced when certain products are used on damaged skin.