Skin rashes and itching 301
Brown or purple patches on the mouth or skin
These patches are caused by a cancer of the blood vessels or
lymph nodes called Kaposi’s sarcoma. Medicines are not helpful.
If you are having problems, like difficulty eating because of
patches in your mouth, see a health worker.
Treatment without medicines:
• Cool the skin or fan it.
• Avoid heat and hot water on the skin.
• Avoid scratching, which causes
more itching and sometimes
infection. Cut the fingernails
short and keep them clean to
• Use cool cloths soaked in water from boiled and
strained oatmeal, or plant medicines from local
These can also help itching:
• tincture of tea tree from
• juice from
Treatment with medicines (use any one of these):
• Apply calamine lotion with a clean cloth as needed.
• Apply small amounts of 1% hydrocortisone cream or
ointment 3 times a day.
• Take an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine or
hydroxyzine, by mouth. Take 25 mg, 4 times a day.
Antihistamines may make you sleepy.
should be used with
caution by women
who are pregnant or
the “Green Pages”).
Herpes zoster (shingles)
Shingles is an infection caused by the chicken pox virus. It
usually begins as a painful rash with blisters, which may then
break open. It is most common on the face, back, and
chest. The area may burn and be very painful. The rash may
start to heal in a few weeks, but the pain may last longer.
• Apply calamine lotion 2 times a day to help
with pain and itching.
• Keep sores dry. Cover with a loose bandage
if clothing rubs the sores.
• To prevent infection, apply gentian violet liquid.
If the sores do become infected, see page 307.
• Strong pain medicine is often needed (see page 482).
• Take acyclovir (see page 490).
Do not touch your eyes, because shingles can
damage your eyesight and can cause blindness.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012