Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD on Nov 18, 2019

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Corticosteroids for Allergy

Hydrocortisone (Cortaid) is a cream-based over-the-counter allergic medicine used topically for various allergies.

Hydrocortisone is the active ingredient of the over-the-counter topical corticosteroid Cortaid. It can be used to treat allergies from insect bites, bee stings, poison ivy or oak allergy, allergy from metal toxins and other allergies. This OTC medicine is available in the form of cream and ointment.(6)

Indications Red itchy skin, psoriasis, rash and hives.

Contraindications Discontinue and seek medical help if the condition persists or worsens after 7 days.

Dosage Apply to the affected areas as a thin film 2 to 4 times a day depending upon severity of the allergic reaction.

Side effects Burning, irritation of the skin, dryness, hypertrichosis, secondary infection.

Precautions and Warnings:

  • Do not use this medication on face or underarms unless directed by the physician to do so.
  • Wash and dry your hands before using.
  • Use it cautiously during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Always consult your doctor before using it to treat allergic reactions in children.


  1. Choosing an Over-The-Counter Allergy Medication - (https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/choosing-an-over-the-counter-allergy-medication)
  2. The Best Over-the-Counter Allergy Medications - (https://www.verywellhealth.com/choosing-over-the-counter-allergy-treatment-3859664)
  3. Popular Over-the-Counter Oral Antihistamine Brands - (https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/antihistamine-brands#second-and-thirdgeneration-brands)
  4. Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion - (https://familydoctor.org/decongestants-otc-relief-for-congestion/)
  5. What Is Pseudoephedrine? - (https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-pseudoephedrine-1192197)
  6. What is Hydrocortisone? - (https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/hydrocortisone)

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