What Is CounterIrritants:What Are Its Types

Counterirritants are substances which are applied to mask the visceral (organic) pain by causing irritation at local application site over skin.

Benefits of counter irritants are

  • To relieve pain.
  • To relieve congestion.
  • To promote healing.
  • To reduce inflammation


This is proprietary preparation containing Kaolin (china clay) Glycerine, antiseptic and aromatic substance. The antiseptic used usually is Wintergreen oil and aromatic substance used is men­thol oil. It is used for poultice, acting as an antiseptic, analgesic and counter-irritant that in case of deep seated inflammation. Usually in clinical practice it is used to relieve congestion and pain in pneumonia and pleurisy and to relieve pain and swelling, in case of arthritis.

Material Required

  1. A peak of antiphLogistine. 2. A bowl of hot water. 3. Spatula. 4. Cotton. 5. Bandage or binder. 6. Flannel or lint cloth. 7. Muslin cloth. 8. Hot water bottle with hot water.


  • Explain the procedure to the patient.
  • Expose the affected area.
  • Spread antiphlogistine over a lint cloth or flannel. A Piece of cloth should be larger than the area to be covered.
  • Place it on the hot water bottle and make ready for applica­tion.
  • Place it now on affected area and cover with cotton.
  • Apply one bandage to fix it.
  • Record the procedure in chart

Tincture Iodine

Iodine is a stable solid. But usually the marketed forms for therapeutic use are commonly in liquid form and ointment form. As skin disinfectant the solution is superior to most other agents. One application is sufficient. If skin is painted with strong solution of iodine there may be burning and pricking sensation followed by rashes. The skin may be peeled off superficially. Tr. iodine or iodine ointment is used as an local analgesic and counter irritant in joint pain, sprain and muscular stiffness.


  1. Tray. 2. A bottle of tincture iodine, 7-10%. 3. A lint or cotton cloth. 4. Bandage. 5. Applicator. 6. Waste collector,
  2. Flannel or lint cloth.


  • Always explain the procedure what you are going to do.
  • Make sere that the skin is dry.
  • Using applicator paint the area with Tr. iodine 1 with one direction noce of application. Never use both up and down movement for application. Application should be in one direction only
  • Allow It to dry by Itself
  • Repeat The Application
  • Again Allow It To dry
  • Cover the area of application lightly by cloth-piece.
  • Observe for local sweating from the area.
  • Next day before applying, clean the area with spirit and dry it.
  • Record the procedure in chart

Soothing Poultices (Emollients)

Emollients are fatty or oily substances which soothe and soften the skin. Emollients Are to the skin what demulcents are to the mucous membrane. These are bland oily substances which, when applied to the skin protect it from irritation and render it softer and more elastic.

Poultices are household remedies applied to the skin. These induce vasodilation by the heat of the material used. Linseeds poultices are well-known. With introduction of chemotherapy and physiotherapy in form of Ultra-violet radiation, diathermy etc. poulti­ces are going out of use.

Use of Soothing Poultices

  • To relieve itching and irritation over skin.
  • To soften and remove crusts and scabs from skin surface. Material Required
  1. Starch, 2-4 table spoon. 2. 1-2 teaspoon boric powder. 3. Sweet oil or olive oil. 4. Applicator. 5. Linen or a piece of lint cloth.


  • Explain to the patient what you are going to do.
  • Make a mixture of starch and boric powder well.
  • Add little water to make paste.
  • Add warm water gradually.
  • Boil it to form a whipped cream.
  • Cool and spread it over linen.
  • Now expose the area of application.
  • Apply the solution over affected area.
  • After sometime clean it gently by applying luke warm
  • Repeat the procedure when all scabs or crusts  are not removed at one sitting or application.

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