Product Type: Care health products
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Care Aqueous Calamine Cream
Member Name: historywitch
Care Aqueous Calamine Cream
Advantages: dries white so your children look very decorative
Disadvantages: ineffective, loose lid, stains fabric
At the end of July my daughter caught chickenpox from a sibling of one of her schoolmates. The schoolmate's mum rushed right round with Piriton, colouring books, pens and a tub of this cream. I was quite happy that Olivia had finally contracted it as she had hit the age of five without catching it and I wanted it out of the way, but I was very grateful for the mother's reaction as it meant I didn't have to potentially infect any other children or vulnerable adults by going out to get my own supplies.
***What do you get***
A small white 100ml/110g tub with a pull off lid which costs between £1.50 and £3.00 depending on where you buy it. Inside is a pale pink, delicately scented, light and thin cream which is recommended for use on mild skin conditions such as eczema, sunburn and of course the itchy chicken pox spot. The cream is very easy to apply, simply dab the product on with fingers and lightly spread across the skin. The cream dries white and if applying to chickenpox spots where you tend to dab and leave it without rubbing it in, it does provide a very interesting mottled effect to the skin! It shouldn't be applied to the face or around the eyes though.
My five year old is a very independent little girl and she happily took a tub into her bedroom and applied it to her spots as and when she felt itchy. She did complain that it didn't really stop the really persistent itching and she received regular doses of Piriton to help her sleep and when it got bad during the day. For the spots that got infected I relied on my old stalwart Sudocrem instead as the calamine lotion seemed to make them worse instead. She ended up with just a few small scars in awkward places and escaped with quite a mild dose. VERDICT: helped her and me feel like we were doing something proactive but it didn't really help in the longterm with the itching-Piriton was most useful here.
Within a day of her spots crusting over and her return to school her little brother came out with his first spots. He got a much much worse dose of chickenpox than she did, he had it everywhere including his eyelids and inside his mouth. I made the attempt to douse him with the calamine lotion but applying to a ten month old is a different kettle of fish to a co-operative five year old. Calamine went everywhere. It really didn't seem to help him at all with the itching, he was scratching furiously and getting really distressed even with really regular applications. Despite him being too young according to the bottle (have to be 12 months and he was 10.5) I resorted to Piriton which allowed him to get a little bit of sleep and to stop scratching so furiously. VERDICT: absolutely no use at all and increased his distress when I dabbed it on his spots.
When I got a few insect bites in August we had a lot of the cream left; after three chickenpoxy children there was still half a tub left. I gave the cream a try as it was there and it didn't help at all. The itch was soothed for about two minutes before it returned with a vengeance. I gave it once last try on some mild sunburn and here it was actually quite effective, removing some of the burning heat and taking some of the tenderness out of the sore, red patch. VERDICT: useless on insect bites but quite soothing on mild sunburn.
We did have some other issues with the calamine cream. In the process of applying the cream and whilst it dried, clothes and other materials came in contact with the product. Some of the stains have stubbornly refused to wash out, whereas it has come easily out of other fabrics so it is worth considering wearing older clothes or some sort of protection for sofas etc when using the cream on children. Luckily all my clothes are old and I was able to make a new cover for the cloth sofa, but some of my children's t-shirts etc were unsalvageable. A lot of this was down to the ten month old who wouldn't stay still whilst the cream dried and was apt to rub against everything in his search for comfort/relief from the itching. He also needed many more cuddles than usual, as did the usually stroppy five year old.
Another negative was that if the tub was left upside down or fell onto its side you had to be very careful when re-opening it. The cream was not liquid thin, but thin enough to make its way to the top of the tub, gathering in the lid. As the lid was a pull-off one and required a tug to open we had a couple of incidents where the cream sprayed over everything. The lid itself is also not particularly child safe - in an episode of extreme sleep deprivation I left the tub within reach of my mostly recovered baby. Who promptly removed the lid and tried a handful of the very tempting looking cream. The label revealed a 'CONSULT MEDICAL ADVICE IMMEDIATELY IF SWALLOWED' warning, but according to NHS Direct it is non-toxic and as he was having no breathing problems there was no cause for concern. They thought the worst that would happen was a slight tummy upset but he was no worse for wear (unlike me who got about ten more grey hairs and knocked another two years off my life!). The lotion is apparently more of a concern however, so more care is needed with that product.
Not very effective on chickenpox other than as a possible placebo, or something to make you feel proactive and doing something about the itching. It was not helpful for other itchiness, especially not for insect bites which I get regularly during the summer. But for sunburn it did offer some relief, but so does a basic bottle of aftersun, which would have a more secure lid so children can't open it easily. A bottle like that would also be safer in a handbag or suitcase than this cream with its loose lid. I certainly don't foresee a time when I will be buying another pot. I am waiting with baited breath however for the next outbreak of chickenpox amongst my friends, so I can rush around with Piriton, colouring books and our half tub of this cream! Perhaps they will find it more useful than we did!
Summary: Not a useful product
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