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Local Anesthesia: Care Instructions


Local anesthesia is medicine used to block pain from a part of the body. The medicines are often injected into the area that needs to be numbed. But they may also be put on the skin as a liquid or gel. Or they may be given as eyedrops.

The medicines start to work very quickly. They can last from around 30 minutes to up to 6 hours or more.

This medicine can be used for things like stitches or a skin biopsy. It can also be used to numb an I.V. site. Sometimes it may be used with sedatives. Those are medicines that make a person feel relaxed or sleepy.

Local anesthesia is very safe. Serious problems are rare.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Follow all instructions from your doctor about how to take care of the area that was numbed.
  • Be careful not to injure the area while it's still numb.
    • If you move the area, move it slowly and carefully.
    • Be careful with hot and cold. Since you won't feel pain, it's easier for damage from heat or cold to happen.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You are having problems, such as a rash in the area that was numbed.
  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.