Itchy skin is an uneasy, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. Likewise called pruritus (proo-RIE-tus), itchy skin might be the outcome of a rash or another condition, such as psoriasis or dermatitis. Or itchy skin might be a symptom of an illness, such as liver illness or kidney failure.
Depending on the reason for your itchy skin, it may appear typical. Or it might be red or rough or have bumps or blisters.
Long-lasting relief requires identifying and treating the reason for itchy skin all over the body. Itchy skin treatments include medications, wet dressings and light treatment. Self-care procedures, including making use of anti-itch items and taking cool baths, likewise can help.
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Itching All Over the Body Symptoms
You might have itchy skin over specific small locations, such as on an arm or leg, or your entire body may itch. Itchy skin can occur without any other obvious changes on the skin. Or it may be connected with:
- Bumps, spots or blisters
- Dry, split skin
- Leathery or scaly structure to the skin
Sometimes irritation lasts a very long time and can be extreme. As you scrub or scratch the area, it gets itchier. And the more it itches, the more you scratch. Breaking this itch-scratch cycle can be tough, however continued scratching can harm your skin or cause infection.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor or a skin disease expert (skin specialist) if the itchiness:
- Lasts more than two weeks and doesn’t improve with self-care measures
- Is severe and sidetracks you from your everyday regimens or prevents you from sleeping
- Can’t be quickly discussed
- Impacts your entire body
- Is accompanied by other symptoms, such as severe exhaustion, weight loss, changes in bowel practices or urinary frequency, fever, or soreness of the skin
Possible reasons for itchy skin include:
- Dry skin. If you don’t see a crop of bright, red bumps or some other significant change in the itchy area, dry skin (xerosis) is a most likely cause.
- Dry skin normally results from environmental factors such as hot or winter with low humidity, long-term use of cooling or main heating, and washing or bathing excessive.
- Skin conditions and rashes. Numerous skin problem itch, including eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, scabies, lice, chickenpox and hives. The itching usually impacts certain locations and is accompanied by other signs, such as red, irritated skin or bumps and blisters.
- Internal diseases. These include liver illness, malabsorption of wheat (celiac illness), kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems and cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. The itching typically affects the whole body. The skin may look otherwise regular except for the repeatedly scratched locations.
- Nerve disorders. Conditions that influence the nervous system– such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, pinched nerves and shingles (herpes zoster)– can cause itching.
- Irritation and allergies. Wool, chemicals, soaps and other compounds can irritate the skin and trigger itching. Sometimes the substance, such as poison ivy or cosmetics, causes an allergic reaction. Food allergies also may cause skin to itch.
- Drugs. Responses to drugs, such as antibiotics, antifungal drugs or narcotic pain medications, can cause prevalent rashes and itching.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, some ladies experience itchy skin, especially on the abdominal area, thighs, busts and arms. Also, itchy skin conditions, such as dermatitis, can intensify throughout pregnancy.
Itching skin can impact the quality of your life. Extended itching and scratching might enhance the strength of the itch, potentially causing:
- Skin injury
Getting ready for your appointment
You’re likely to start by seeing your family doctor or primary care doctor. In some cases, you might be described a professional in skin diseases (skin specialist).
Here is info to assist you get ready for your visit and to know what to get out of your doctor.
What you can do
Jot down your signs and symptoms, when they occurred, and how long they lasted. Also, make a list of all medications, consisting of vitamins, herbs and non-prescription drugs, you’re taking. Or take the initial bottles and a written list of the doses and instructions.
Jot down concerns to ask your doctor. For itchy skin, questions you may wish to ask include:
What is likely causing my symptoms?
Are tests had to confirm the medical diagnosis?
What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
What is the best strategy?
I have other health issue. How can I manage them together?
What are the alternatives to the main approach you’re recommending?
Do I need prescription medication, or can I use over-the-counter medications to treat the condition?
What outcomes can I expect?
Can I wait to see if the condition goes away without treatment?
Don’t think twice to ask other concerns you have.
What to anticipate from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to start with your medical history and to ask you some questions, such as:
When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
What did your skin look like when your symptoms begun?
Have your symptoms changed?
What, if anything, appears to aggravate your symptoms?
What, if anything, appears to improve your symptoms?
What at-home treatments have you attempted?
What prescription and over-the-counter medications are you taking?
Have you took a trip recently?
What is your common diet?
Are you in contact with possible irritants, such as family pets or certain metals, in your home or at work?
Tests and medical diagnosis
Tracking down the reason for your itch can require time and include a physical examination and a mindful history. If your doctor believes your itchy skin is the outcome of a hidden medical condition, he or she might perform tests, including:
- Blood test. A complete blood count can offer proof of an internal condition triggering your itch, such as iron shortage.
- Chemistry profile. This test is utilized to determine if you have a liver or kidney condition.
- Thyroid function test. Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism, might trigger itching.
- Chest X-rays. Signs of underlying disease that are associated with itchy skin, such as enlarged lymph nodes, can be seen by using radiography.
Treatments and drugs
Once a cause is identified, treatments for itchy skin might include:
- Corticosteroid creams. Applied topically, these might manage itching. Your doctor may suggest using the medicated cream to influenced areas, then covering these locations with damp cotton product that has actually been taken in water or other solutions. The moisture in the wet dressings assists the skin soak up the cream.
- Calcineurin inhibitors. Certain drugs, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel), can be made use of rather of corticosteroid creams in many cases, specifically if the itchy area isn’t really large.
- Oral antihistamines. Your doctor might advise anti-allergy medications to relieve your itch. This group of medications includes over-the-counter drugs that don’t make you drowsy, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin), or those that make you sleepy, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl). The ones that make you sleepy can be especially valuable at night if your itchy skin keeps you awake.
- Antidepressants. Careful serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), might help in reducing numerous types of skin itchiness.
Dealing with the underlying disease
If an internal illness is found – whether it’s kidney disease, iron shortage or a thyroid problem– treating that disease commonly relieves the itch. Other itch-relief approaches likewise might be advised.
Light therapy (phototherapy).
Phototherapy includes exposing your skin to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light. Numerous sessions are normally scheduled until the itching is under control.
Itching All Over the Body Home Remedies
For temporary relief of itching, attempt these self-care measures:.
- Use a premium moisturizing cream on your skin. Apply this cream a minimum of one or two times daily, concentrating on the areas where itchiness is most severe. Examples include Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe and others.
- Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area. Short-term usage of nonprescription hydrocortisone cream consisting of at least 1 percent hydrocortisone can momentarily ease the itch. So can menthol, camphor or calamine.
Topical anesthetics, such as lidocaine or benzocaine, may be handy. Nevertheless, benzocaine has actually been connected to an uncommon but major, sometimes fatal condition referred to as methemoglobinemia, which reduces the quantity of oxygen that the blood can carry. Do not use benzocaine in children younger than age 2 without guidance from a healthcare expert. If you’re an adult, never ever utilize more than the suggested dose of benzocaine, and consider talking with your doctor.
- Prevent scratching whenever possible. Cover the itchy area if you cannot avoid scratching it. Cut nails and use gloves during the night.
- Apply cool, wet compresses. Treatment the afflicted area with plasters and dressings can help secure the skin and prevent scratching.
- Take a lukewarm bath. Spray the bath water with baking soda, raw oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal– a carefully ground oatmeal that is produced the bathtub (Aveeno, others).
- Wear smooth-textured, loose cotton clothes. This will help you avoid inflammation.
- Choose moderate soaps without dyes or fragrances. Make sure to rinse the soap completely off your body. And after washing, use a moisturizer to protect your skin.
- Use a moderate, unscented laundry cleaning agent when washing clothes, towels and bedding. Try using the extra-rinse cycle on your cleaning device.
- Prevent compounds that aggravate your skin or that trigger an allergic reaction. These can include nickel, precious jewelry, perfume or skin products with fragrance, cleaning products, and cosmetics.
- Lower stress. Stress can worsen itching. Counseling, habits adjustment treatment, meditation and yoga are some methods of relieving stress.