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My friend recommended this cream to me. You can buy it on prescription for £7.40 or you can buy it in some small pharmacies for around £4.50 to £5.50. The cheapest price that i've seen it sell for is £4.59. I bought a tube of it when I knew I was going to have a blood test as I dislike the pain and discomfort of having needles stuck into me!
The cream is white in colour and quite thick in consistency. It doesn't really smell of anything, although my friend says it smells quite medicinal - I don't think it does but everyone has their own opinion I guess! The cream is to be applied to the area where the needle will be going. I applied it to the area on my arm where I know they usually take my blood from. The cream needs around an hour or so to kick in so I use it one hour before my appointment. The cream DOES work! It numbs the skin (where the cream was applied) thoroughly and you literally cannot feel a thing. This is great for people like myself - people who dislike the sharp stabbing pain of needles. You literally cannot feel a thing where this cream has been applied as the whole area becomes numb. I would suggest washing your hands STRAIGHT AWAY after having applied this cream, otherwise your fingers and thumbs will be numb too! You have to wait for the numbness to fade. Washing the cream off when it has already been absorbed does not work!
It can also be used before piercings to numb the area. I haven't used it for this purpose yet but I will do!
It can also be used on tattoos but you will need a few tubes for a large area of skin, which could work out as quite expensive...
A great way to numb skin and more comfortable then sticking a bag of frozen peas onto your arm!
These days I'm quite lucky and don't have to have too many blood tests, and when I do we have a phlebotomist at my surgery who's very good. However, in the past I've had to have whole series of blood tests and dealt with some people who've really struggled to get blood from my veins. The problem is twofold. Firstly, I have very deep veins that don't like to be found, and secondly I have fibromyalgia so it's not exactly pain free having them poke around to find the vein.
The first time I had EMLA cream recommended to me it was a nurse at the hospital who after attempting to find a vein in each arm, the back of both hands, and then my ankles said ok EMLA time and smeared hands and inner elbows with thick white cream, stuck clear plasters over them and sent me back to the waiting room for 20 minutes. When I was called back in, she got a vein first time and explained to me that this cream, as well as numbing the area somewhat, also helps to make the veins pop up more. Waayhaay a new way for me to get blood taken with less pain and more quickly I thought.
Unfortunately on my next trip to the doctors when I needed blood taken, I mentioned EMLA cream, and was told that they don't provide it for adults as a general rule - therefore, if I wanted it used, I must purchase my own. They were happy to write me a prescription, and so off I went, got it filled, and then came in with cling film wrapped round hands and elbows to stop it moving (best I could manage and it worked lol).
I have to say that getting EMLA on prescription is quite a costly way to get it if you pay for your prescriptions like I do, as you can buy the same size small tube for around £3-5 direct from a chemist or online.
The tube you get is very small - only around 5 grams, but that's not an issue, as you don't need much, and 1 tube will do me both inner elbows and backs of both hands with no problem (I no longer bother putting it on the backs of my hands as I know they'll get a vein with this stuff in the usual location).
EMLA cream contains two anaesthetics to numb your skin. Lidocaine and Prilocaine. These both work by blocking out the pain that travels from the nerve endings so you don't feel anything. As to the ingredient that makes the veins 'pop' I have no idea, and in fact have heard other people since say that it has the opposite effect and can make them harder to find so that's a little strange really, but either way it works well for me when necessary.
Now, different people seem to have different theories on how far in advance you should apply the cream. On the instructions that come with it, it normally says at least an hour or two (some brands seem to suggest as much as five hours before), but I've always found 30-40 minutes to be enough for me in order for it to be pain free and easy for a blood test. When they're ready to do the blood test, just wipe the cream off with a tissue and you're ready to go.
EMLA cream is available in chemists, but you'll find you generally have to ask for it as it's kept behind the counter and you may even have to speak directly to the pharmacist before you can get it as they do like to check about other medications you're taking in case of contraindications.
There are other uses - not all medical - that EMLA can be used for too, for example some people use it when they're getting their bikini area waxed, and others when they have tattoos or piercings done. It IS a medication however, and like with all medications, it is much better to buy this at a chemist where you can speak to the pharmacist rather than buying it online where you won't be asked any questions - at least the first time you buy it anyway. Whether you do buy it online or in a store, make sure you do read the leaflet that comes with it carefully as although most of the side effects that you may experience (such as the skin where it's applied going whiter), are harmless, there are others which are more serious so it's best to know the score before you use it.
My daughter has chronic kidney disease and one of the ways to monitor this condition is by regular blood tests. She is a bit of a wimp when it comes to needles and always insists on numbing cream before they jab her, one of the most commonly used creams is EMLA.
EMLA is a white cream which contains the active ingredients lidocane and prilocaine which are local anaesthetics. It is applied at least half an hour before anything is done to the skin although it is recommended that you leave it for a full hour. It is available on prescription as well as being available to buy for around £5 for a small tube from some chemists and online.
When you use EMLA the instict is to rub the cream into the skin but you simply apply it in a splodge around the area which is to be numbed. Most packs of EMLA come with a clear plaster which is placed over the mound of cream. It can be fairly fiddly to apply the plaster making sure no cream goes under the edges onto the surrounding skin. If you are applying the cream onto a hand or arm for a bloodtest then it will make life a lot easier if you get someone else to apply the cream for you. The plaster can be written on and the nurses always write the time the cream was applied so they know when to rub it off.
The cream is simply wiped off with tissue and the area where it has been applied is totally numb, numb enough to have a blood test without feeling any pain at all. It can also be used when you are having a tattoo or piercing. The area stays numb for several hours afterwards and when it wears off there is no tingling like when sensation comes back after pins and needles. It leaves the skin a bit soft where it has been but this wears off quickly once the plaster has been removed. It has never caused any irritation or redness for my daughter.
A small tube of EMLA has enough cream to numb two areas for blood tests so more would be needed for tattooing over a larger area. I reccomend it for needle phobics because it works really well.
Although I don't have the world's highest pain threshold I can man up and endure when needs be. However I firmly believe that why should you suffer if you don't need to? I had heard from friends about numbing creams but the nearest I had ever got to one was spreading a little germolene on my skin. I had booked in for a tattoo and the nearer the date got for my appointment the more I remembered the pain of my previous ones so I started looking into buying a numbing cream. I had a look online and saw that EMLA cream seemed to be the numbing cream of choice so I bought myself a tube from Amazon from a third party seller for only £2.49.
~~~~~ what is EMLA cream ~~~~~
EMLA cream is basically a cream that contains two local anaesthetics to numb the skin before having procedure such as tattoos, injections, laser treatments, mole removal etc. etc.
The two numbing agents are lidocaine and prilocaine and they work by blocking the pain receptors in the nerve endings of the skin which is what causes the numbing effect. The concentration of the local numbing agents is 5%.
It is currently the only numbing cream in the UK that contains both lidocaine and prilocaine.
~~~~~ Using the EMLA cream ~~~~~
The tube that the EMLA cream comes in is absolutely tiny and even though I knew that it was only a 5g tube it didn't prepare me for just how small it actually was. I looked at the tube and decided that there was no way it was going to cover a big enough area so I went to my local chemist and bought another one. Even though I could buy it online with no questions asked the pharmacist had to sell me the cream in the chemist and it wasn't just on the shelves.
I had two appointments for my tattoo one to get the outline done and then a few days later for the colour to be filled in.
I read the instructions that came with the cream which were really extensive and they mentioned that the cream was supposed to be applied to the skin at least an hour and preferably two to five hours before the treatment. It also stated that the cream had to be put on under a dressing. Now the cream had come with no dressing so I just slapped a load on the area where I was getting the tattoo and left it for a couple of hours before I went to the tattoo parlour.
When I arrived at the tattoo parlour the cream had been on my skin for at least a couple of hours and it was feeling pretty numb to me. However the problems started when the needle entered my arm and as soon as it this happened I could feel everything. The cream had only numbed the outer surface of my skin and wasn't doing anything for the underneath where the needle hit. I had to just grin and bare the pain but as soon as I got home I read the instructions for the cream again carefully.
Without having any sort of adhesive dressings at home I had to improvise and make my own. The dressing acts to help the cream penetrate the skin as deeply as possible so I got some cream and put some on my skin making sure not to rub it all in and then I got some Clingfilm and wrapped it around the area making sure that I got it nice and tight. I kept the cling film on for just over an hour and when I removed it the area where I had applied the cream had turned really pale in comparison with the rest of my skin. I wasn't worried though as I had read this was a common side effect and that my skin would return to its normal colour quickly.
I pinched my skin to check and this time it was completely numb without any sensation whatsoever. When I arrived at the tattoo parlour I explained to the tattooist why my skin was so white but he just nodded and told me loads of people come in with EMLA cream on so he'd seen it before. Although I felt like a bit of a wimp admitting I had it on to him he told me that I'd be surprised the amount of big men who use it. Feeling better about my masculinity being intact I tensed for the needle but this time there was absolutely no feeling whatsoever. The needle went in and out of my arm and I could feel absolutely nothing for the entire time I was in the chair.
Usually when I get a tattoo the skin is a little tender to begin with but this time it was fine for the next few hours and it wasn't until I woke up the next day the skin started smarting a bit. To say that I was impressed with the EMLA cream is a bit of an understatement.
I was also hugely impressed with just how much cream the tiny little 5g tube can actually hold. I was convinced that there was no way even two tubes were going to be enough but done correctly with the dressing one tube would have held more than enough cream even for a large area of skin.
~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~
I highly recommend EMLA cream and I was so impressed with it once I got the application right. I have read a few bad reviews of the cream but they are clearly from people who are just putting the cream on and not bothering with the wrapping. For it to work effectively the wrapping of the skin is essential.
This would be the ideal thing for someone that is scared of needles and what I also thought was great is that it can actually be used on children as well which is bound to make getting their jags less of a trauma for them.
There are some side effects that can occur but the most common of these are pretty harmless and include the paling of the skin where the cream is applied (it does go back to normal and pretty quickly I found out) and redness. There are some more serious complication as with any medicine but these are very rare and it should also not be used if you are on certain medications but these are all clearly laid out in the instructions so make sure and read them carefully.
EMLA Cream 5% - Lidocaine 2.5% and Prilocaine 2.5% - Cream for topical anaesthesia - Pre-medication Pack Contains: 5x5g Cream and 12 Dressings / It can be used for:Injections.Blood tests.Tattoos.Minor skin operations.Some types of skin graft.Emla cream contains two medicines called Lidocaine and Prilocaine.These belong to a group of medicines called local anaesthetics / Emlaworks by numbing the surface of the skin for a short time, helping tostop pain felt on the skin / Directions for Use: Always use Emla cream exactly as your doctor, pharmacist or nurse has told you / Squeeze the cream into a mound where it is needed / Do not rub in.Use the dressing provided / Apply dressing and leave for at least 60minutes / Your doctor/nurse will remove the dressing and cream beforethey do the medical procedure / Use on the skin before having a needle put in: 2g applied 1-5 hours under a dressing.Use on the skin before procedures on larger areas: 2g/10square centimetres in size, applied 2-5 hours under a dressing / Thecream can also be used on babies and children, please refer to leafletfor directions.