Topical Route

The topical route refers to applying medication to the skin for a local effect. There are three ways to administer topical medication. These are with a glove, with a tongue blade, or with a cotton-tipped applicator. Never apply topical medication with an ungloved hand because medication may be absorbed into your body as well as into the patient's body. When administering a topical medication:

• Check the prescriber's order.

• Use clean or sterile technique if applying the medication to skin that is broken or burned.

• Stroke the medication firmly onto the skin.

• Be sure the patient is comfortable when applying medication to painful areas of the skin.

• Don't use a light, feathery touch when administrating medication to an area that is pruritic (itchy) because this makes the itch worse.

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