Itchy Skin: Causes, Symptoms, Preventive Measures and Cure

We all have got an itch at some point of our lives. Some unfortunate among us may have to experience it very often due to chronic disease like eczema or psoriasis. Nevertheless, it is common for the rest. However, when it gets intense, it starts disturbing your lives and sleep as well.

Sometimes, itch leads to skin damages and infections due to the continuous scratching. For example, your sharp nails carry debris underneath which is transferred to your skin when you scratch over it. It also triggers emotional anguish or frustration when you don’t get relief.

Itch is a common symptom of skin diseases like insect bites, dry skin, allergies and rashes. Scratching over them makes the skin condition even worse. Itchy skin is not dangerous and can be treated with simple remedies like wet compress. Severe itching requires medical assessment and treatment.

Why Do We Itch?

According to Scientific American, itch serves “as an important sensory and self-protective mechanism, as do other skin sensations such as touch, pain, vibration, cold and heat. It can alert us to harmful external agents, but can become unbearable if not treated.” Further, the website tells that an itching “sensation of the skin arises due to stimulation of pruriceptors—itch-sensing nerve endings—by mechanical, thermal or chemical mediators.”

“Stimulation by any of these agents is typically related to inflammation, dryness or other damage to the skin, mucous membranes or conjunctiva of the eye.”

What are the Symptoms of Itching?

The itching may have over certain small areas like arm or leg or over your whole body. Itchy skin can appear without any noticeable changes on the skin. Or it may be related with…

• Dry, cracked skin.
• Redness.
• Bumps, blisters or spots.
• Scaly texture to the skin.

Sometimes itchiness lasts a long time and can be worse. It gets even worse if you scratch the area.

What to Do If Itch Gets Annoying

• Take lukewarm water bath.
• Apply rich moisturizers on the skin after taking bath.
• Always use gentle cleanser.
• Maintain a comfortable room temperature.
• Keep nails short and trim them often.
• Wear loose and light garments.

And What Not to Do…

• Wearing woolen or rough clothes
• Hot water baths
• Harsh soaps or shampoos
• Fragrances or body washes.

How to Avoid Getting Itch

Be Careful while Handling Harsh Chemical:

It is better if you wear non-latex rubber gloves while coming into contact with harsh household cleaners, chemicals and detergents. It will help you avoid the irritants.

Apply Moisturizer after Swimming and Shower:

Dry skin causes itching. It occurs when the skin losses moisture, especially after you take bath. Therefore, apply moisturizer within 3 minutes to trap the moisture after taking bath. And be more careful while swimming as due to the chlorine mixed pool water that dries the skin. Make sure to wash off the skin with water and mild soap once you are done with swimming. And use an application of a quality moisturizer that contains glycerin.

Take OTC Medication:

There are various medications like antihistamine for itching available at drug store. Generally, antihistamines are used to treat itch, including Benadryl, Atarax and Chlor-Trimeton. Make sure to read the instructions before using them.

Use Cold Compress:

Cold compresses are an easy to way get relief from itchy skin. It is easy to do. Just wet a cloth or a towel in cold water and place it onto the affected area. You can also use ice packs or plastic bags of ice cubes.

See your doctor if itch lasts more than two weeks and doesn’t improve with self-care measures.

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