How To Relieve Itching
WHAT ITCHING IS
Itching is a tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin that creates a desire to scratch the affected area.
CAUSES OF ITCHING
Itching can be caused by a variety of reasons such as dry skin, a medication or a treatment such as chemotherapy.
Itching can also be caused by insect bites, less common insect-related itching (such as scabies, bedbugs or flea bits), or fungal infections
It is important to identify the cause of the itching before treating it. If you do not know the cause, or if the itching is severe and accompanied by a rash, speak with your doctor before treating it yourself.
HOW TO CONTROL ITCHING CAUSED BY A TREATMENT OR HEALTH CONDITION
Itching can often be controlled using over-the-counter or home remedies such as the following. If they do not work, your doctor may have a stronger medical remedy to suggest.
Over the counter remedies include:
- Topical steroid creams can help to prevent itching. Never use steroid cream without first consulting with your doctor because some creams may cause thinning of the skin and make it more prone to injury. Hydrocortisone cream (1% hydrocortisone cream applied several times a day)
- Vick's Vapor Rub applied to the affected area.
Home remedies which have worked for other people are:
- Keep the skin lubricated.
- Apply Aloe Vera, cod liver oil, lemon juice, vitamin E oil, or wheat germ oil to the affected area.
- Drink lots of water.
- Gently rub the area with cornstarch, baking soda or baby powder.
- Avoid very hot baths or bubble baths. They dry out the skin.
- Take a bath with luke warm water and add a can of evaporated milk or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or baking soda or 2 cups of rolled oats in a sock or cheese cloth or a small amount of oils.
- Apply a soothing lotion after taking a bath while your skin is still slightly moist. (This helps retain the moisture).
- Avoid irritating, perfumed soaps, shower gel or deodorants.
- Subject the itchy area to heat or cold.
- For example cold via a cold compress or by running cold water on the affected area.
- Heat through a hot compress or hot water via a shower or faucet.
- Caution: Do not use such great heat or cold that you burn yourself or cause further irritation.
- Keep the affected areas dry and clean at all times.
- Avoid drying soaps such as Ivory. Use creamy soaps such as Dove.
- Keep your nails short so that if you do scratch (which you shouldn't), you won't cause infections.
- If the dry skin is caused by dry heat, run a portable humidifier in your bedroom and other rooms in which you spend a great deal of time.
- Try to stay in a cool humid environment, such as may result from use of a humidifier.
- Scratching or rubbing itchy areas worsens the problem. Do not scratch or rub the spot that itches.
- Do not wear thick, rough clothing that comes in contact with areas that itch.
- Speak with your doctor if you experience chronic or severe itching - a constant and prolonged itching that may not respond to the suggestions listed above, such as moisturizing your skin. Severe itching may become so intense that it causes pain or distress. There are medications that can be applied to the skin or taken by mouth to relieve itching.