Information about Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
We Have to know about Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- A Sensation That The Patient Indistinctively Attempts To Relieve By Scratching Or By Rubbing. Itching Is A Symptom And Not A Disease. It May Accompany A Primary Skin Disease Or A Systemic Disease.
Causes of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Dry Skin: Itchy Skin That Isn’t Accompanied By Other Obvious Skin Changes, Such As A Rash, Is Most Often Caused By Dry Skin (Xerosis). Dry Skin Usually Results From Environmental Factors Like Hot Or Cold Weather With Low Humidity Levels, Long-Term Use Of Air Conditioning Or Central Heating, And Washing Or Bathing Too Much.
- Skin Conditions And Rashes. Psoriasis, Inflammation Of The Skin (Dermatitis), Scabies, Lice, Insect Bites, Urticaria, Chickenpox And Hives.
- Internal Diseases. These Include Liver Disease, Kidney Failure, Iron Deficiency Anemia, Thyroid Problems And Cancers, Including Leukemia And Lymphoma. In These Cases, The Itching Usually Affects The Whole Body, Rather Than One Specific Area. The Skin May Look Otherwise Normal Except For The Scratched Areas. Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes Mellitus, Internal Cancer Can Also Cause Itching
- Irritation And Allergic Reactions. Wool, Chemicals, Soaps And Other Substances Can Irritate The Skin And Cause Itching. Food Allergies Also May Cause Itchy Skin Reactions.
- Drugs. Reactions To Drugs, Such As Antibiotics, Antifungal Drugs Or Narcotic Pain Medications
- Pregnancy. During Pregnancy Sometimes Itching Is Present Especially On The Abdomen, Thighs, Breasts And Arms.
Signs & Symptoms of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Itching May Occur In Small Areas, Such As On An Arm Or Leg Or Whole Body May Feel Itchy. Itchy Skin Can Occur Without Any Other Noticeable Changes On The Skin. Or, It May Be Associated With:
- Bumps, Spots Or Blisters
- Dry, Cracked Skin, Fissures And Crusts
- Leathery Or Scaly Texture To The Skin
Do And Don’ts of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Avoid Tight/ Irritating Clothing And Woolens. Wear Smooth-Textured Cotton Clothing.
- Bathing Should Be Brief, Avoid Using Hot Water, Instead Use Lukewarm Water
- Apply An Anti-Itch Cream Or Lotion To The Affected Area.
- Avoid Scratching Whenever Possible. Cover The Itchy Area If You Can’t Keep From Scratching It. Trim Nails
- Apply Cool, Wet Compresses
- Choose Mild Soaps Without Dyes Or Perfumes. Be Sure To Rinse The Soap Completely Off Your Body. And After Washing, Apply A Moisturizer When The Skin Is Still Wet To Protect Your Skin.
- Avoid Substances That Irritate Your Skin Or That Cause An Allergic Reaction. These Can Include Nickel, Jewelry, Perfume, Cleaning Products And Cosmetics
Medical Advice of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- See A Doctor If The Itching:
- Lasts More Than Two Weeks And Doesn’t Improve With Self-Care Measures
- Is Extremely Severe And Uncomfortable And Distracts You From Your Daily Routines Or Prevents You From Sleeping
- Can’t Be Easily Explained Or Affects Your Whole Body
- Is Accompanied By Other Symptoms, Such As Extreme Tiredness, Weight Loss, Change In Bowel Habits Or Urinary Frequency, Fever, Or Redness Of The Skin
Risk Factors of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Contact With Persons With Some Skin Diseases
- Advancing Age, Diabetes Mellitus, Cancers, Allergic Conditions
Treatment for Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Tracking Down The Cause Of Your Itch Can Take Time And Involve A Physical Exam And A Careful History. If Your Doctor Suspects Your Itchy Skin Is The Result Of An Underlying Medical Condition, He Or She May Perform Tests, Including:
- Blood Test. A Complete Blood Count Can Provide Evidence Of An Internal Condition Causing Your Itch, Such As Iron Deficiency.
- Tests Of Thyroid, Liver And Kidney Function. Liver Or Kidney Disorders And Thyroid Abnormalities, Such As Hyperthyroidism, May Cause Itching.
- Chest X-Rays. Signs Of Underlying Disease That Are Associated With Itchy Skin, Such As Enlarged Lymph Nodes, Can Be Seen By Using X-Rays.
- Once A Cause Is Identified, Treatments For Itchy Skin May Include:
Medications for Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Corticosteroid Creams. If Your Skin Is Itchy And Red, Your Doctor May Suggest Applying A Medicated Cream To The Affected Areas. He Or She May Also Suggest That You Cover These Areas With Damp Cotton Material That Has Been Soaked In Water Or Other Solutions. The Moisture In The Wet Dressings Helps The Skin Absorb The Cream And Also Has A Cooling Effect On The Skin, Reducing Itch.
- Calcineurin Inhibitors. Certain Drugs, Such As Tacrolimus (Protopic) And Pimecrolimus (Elidel), Can Be Used Instead Of Corticosteroid Creams In Some Cases, Especially If The Itchy Area Isn’t Large.
- Antidepressants. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Such As Fluoxetine (Prozac) And Sertraline (Zoloft), May Help Reduce Various Types Of Skin Itching.
Treating The Underlying Disease
- If An Internal Disease Is Found — Whether It’s Kidney Disease, Iron Deficiency Or A Thyroid Problem — Treating That Disease Often Relieves The Itch. Other Itch-Relief Methods Also May Be Recommended.
Light Therapy (Phototherapy)
- Phototherapy Involves Exposing Your Skin To Certain Wavelengths Of Ultraviolet Light. Multiple Sessions Are Usually Scheduled Until The Itching Is Under Control.
Investigations of Itchy Skin (Pruritus)
- Routine Blood Tests
- Various Special Tests For Identifying Cause For Pruritus