How Much Do You Know About Pruritus?

What is pruritus? What are the causes of pruritus? How to prevent it? Learn here everything about pruritus.

Pruritus (pronounced as PROO-RAI-TUS) is defined as a severe itching of the skin. And this itch is often coupled with extremely dry skin. Pruritus is common in itchy and dry skin conditions like allergy, eczema, seasonal allergies, and even cancer.

In this skin condition, you have a strong urge to scratch yourself. By doing this, you reach more harm to your skin as scratching often damages the skin.

To know pruritus better and get better treatment, here is a brief guide on symptoms, causes, and prevention.

How to Tell if You have Pruritus?

Dry and itchy skin is the trademark of pruritus. Such condition of the skin often pave the ways for other symptoms like rashes, blisters and bumps, flakes and lesions.

What Causes Pruritus

Dry Skin:

Dry skin is a key trigger of pruritus. It is caused by extreme weather like hot and cold or when you have prolonged sitting in AC or in a heated room. Dry skin is also caused by excessive cleansing as it strips the essential oils of the skin.

Skin Conditions and Rashes:

Patients of medical conditions like eczema, scabies, hives, seasonal allergies and psoriasis are more vulnerable to this skin condition.

Internal Diseases:

Underlying medical conditions like anemia, thyroid, cancers and kidney failures can cause dry and itching skin.

Nerve Disorders:

Sometimes the problem in nervous systems like shingles, multiple sclerosis, and pinched nerves can cause pruritus.

Allergies:

Allergies also cause dry skin and itching. Coming into contact with your allergens like certain cosmetic or insect bites can cause pruritus.

Medication Reactions:

Your skin may be sensitive to some drugs like painkillers, antifungal medication, and drugs. As a result, you end up with a dry and itchy skin.

Pregnancy:

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

Where Pruritus is Likely to Occur

Pruritus affects the dry skin spots like thighs, breast, arms, hands and lower legs.

What are the Complication Associated with Pruritus

  • Skin injury
  • Infection
  • Scarring

When to See A Physician

It is important to get a timely treatment for pruritus, given then the condition can lead to complications. When to see a doctor? Well, it all depends on how long the symptom lasts and how worse they turn.

Things to Share with Your Doctor

  • When did you start experiencing symptoms?
  • How was your skin when your symptoms started?
  • Have your signs changed?
  • Which home remedies have you tried?
  • What OTC medications are you taking?
  • Have you traveled recently?
  • What is your diet?
  • Do you have pets? Or you come into contact with irritants like chemicals or metals?

How Pruritus is Diagnosed by a Physician

A physician carefully examines your skin to rule out the possibilities of other diseases. For further examination, you are required to undergo a blood test, thyroid test, chest X-rays and chemistry profile.

How Pruritus is Treated by a Physician

Once it is confirmed that you have pruritus, a doctor will prescribe several medications like…

  • 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 Look After Your Pruritus Skin

  • Use a humidifier to balance the dryness in the air.
  • Don’t use alcohol or scented soaps
  • Apply skin creams and lotions to keep your skin moisturized and minimize the dryness.
  • Avoid hot water for bathing as it can strip off the moisture.
  • Avoid wearing fabrics like wool and synthetics as they cause skin itching. Instead, use cotton outfits and bedding.

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