Everything You Wanted to Know about Pruritus

Pruritus or itching is defined as skin condition being marked with itching and dryness. Here is a rundown of causes, symptoms and prevention of pruritus.

What is Pruritus?

Pruritus is an extremely dry skin characterized by severe itching. It is commonly known as itching. Pruritus is common in skin conditions like skin disease, dry skin, allergy, eczema, asthma, seasonal allergies and even cancer. The intense itching makes you to scratch the affected part for relief.

How to Tell if You Have Pruritus?

Extreme dryness and itching are the trademarks of pruritus. These symptoms lead to the skin scarring or damaging. Besides, you may have rashes, blisters, flakes and lesions.

What Causes Pruritus?

Internal Diseases: Pruritus is also caused by several health conditions like anemia, thyroid, kidney failure and cancer.

Dry Skin: Dry skin is a key cause of pruritus and is likely to be occurred from the hot/cold weather, prolonged sitting in AC or in heating, taking excessive washing and bathing. All these factors affect the moisture level of the skin, thereby making it vulnerable to the dry, which in turn cause itching.

Nerve Disorders: Pruritus is sometime associated with the problems in nervous systems like multiple sclerosis, pinched nerves and shingles.

Skin Conditions and Rashes: Itching is a common symptom of skin conditions like eczema, scabies, hives and psoriasis. Continuous itching makes skin vulnerable to the red bumps and blisters.

Allergies: Allergies cause dry skin and itching. People who are allergic to cosmetics or insect bites may experience itching after coming into the contact of these allergens. Sometimes, food allergies also lead to itching and dryness.

Medication Reactions: In most of the cases, the dry skin occurs from the reactions to the drugs, like antifungal, pain killers, and antifungal drugs, which cause itching and rashes.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy may make some women to go through the intense skin itching.

Where Does Pruritus Target At?

It can occur on the lower legs, thighs, breast, arms and hands.

Can Pruritus Harm You?

Itching for a long time can lead to medical conditions like…

  • Skin injury
  • Infection
  • Scarring

Should You Go to Doctor to Treat Your Itch?

While mild symptoms are controlled with a topical medication, see your physician if the symptoms are aggravated or last longer. If you are feeling pain or discomfort, see your doctor immediately.

How a Physician Diagnose Pruritus?

A doctor will closely examine your skin. To confirm the causes of itch, they may perform several tests like blood test, chemistry profile, thyroid test and chest x-rays.

How Pruritus is Treated at Clinic by Physician?

A doctor prescribes the following medications to soothe your itch.

  • Corticosteroid Creams for treating itching
  • Calcineurin if the itching area is minor
  • Anti-allergy medicine
  • Antidepressants like sertraline and fluoxetine to relieve from various types of itching.

How to Treat or Manage Itch at Home?

  • Keep your skin moisturized using skin creams and lotions. Moisture will minimize dryness which in turn soothes itch.
  • Apply sunscreens to soothe your damaged skin by sunburns that cause dry and inflamed skin.
  • Avoid using scented soaps as they have allergens to irritate your skin. Instead, use mild and alcohol free soaps.
  • Avoid using hot water baths. Use only cold or lukewarm water.
  • Don’t put wooly or scratch fabrics directly on the skin. Make sure to wear cotton fabrics beneath them to avoid skin itch as they contact the skin.
  • Balance the dryness in your home using humidifier.
  • When nothing is available, use cold compress over the area.
  • Wear cotton gloves whenever you have a strong urge to scratch.
  • Keep your nail trimmed.

So you must have understood about pruritus or itch. Remember, a good skin care helps you prevent your itch from going worse. What do you think? Please share with us by commenting below.

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