Itching may be considered a minor health problem. But, a continuous and intense itching or scratching may damage the skin and leave permanent scares on the skin.
Itching, also known as ‘pruritus,’ can cause a lot of discomfort and may even become a distraction.
Health experts say that itching may be a symptom of some other disorder going on in the human body. They list the various causes of itching to include; poor personal hygiene from lack of good bath over a long period. Another is the use of contaminated, polluted or chemicalised water for bathing.
Other causes, they say, include: insect bite and infestation. For example, bites from mosquito, sand-fly, caterpillar sting and many other forms of insect. Reactions to some body contacts, like soap (for bath or laundery), creams, perfumes and other cosmetics. Also among these, health experts say are chemicals, plants, certain fabrics and wears, meals or contact with rough areas.
It is said also, that the skin can itch for a variety of reasons. For example, an individual may have touched a certain type of plant, such as ragweed or poison ivy. Illness, an insect bite, or healing from a burn or cut can also cause you to feel itchy.
Also, experts say that anxiety can induce body itching. Other causes include; excessive swearing with heat rashes, food and drink allergy, drug reactions. Several other factors have been identified too. They are skin diseases, like ringworm, eczema, liver disease and jaundice, gall bladder problems and other malignant conditions. Health professionals say also that tension and worries can aggravate body itching.
Steps to help eradicate body itching
According to medical experts, steps to help eradicate body itching should begin with first, identifying the causes of the problem, then, deal with it accordingly. They advise that affected person should begin by having regular good bath daily, using mild and good soap. This, they say, should be supported with other applications, like mild soothing lotion.
When body itching persists after applying simple and recommended remedies liker calamine lotion with antihistamine (anti-itching agents), sufferers are advised at this point to seek help from a doctor for proper, adequate investigations and right treatment.
However, physicians have often stressed on the importance of taking steps for preventive treatment than curative. Here are some steps recommended to ensure prevention of body itching. The first is to avoid contact with whatever could trigger any form of itching.
It is suggested that people who experience body itching should keep record of suspected contacts and religiously follow it up. This, according to a public health practitioner, Mrs. Chinyere Akuwudike, would help the health personnel make good diagnosis and subsequently, achieve effective cure and ultimate recovery.
People are advised to always keep the fingernails short to avoid further injury to the skin while scratching and even transfer possible infection to another person or contacts. You are advised to take good care of the body to be free from possible scratching, which can be highly embarrassing.
When itching becomes highly irritating and serious, experts recommend the following remedies to provide relief.
Colloidal oatmeal is not something you eat for breakfast. This type of oatmeal is made from oats that have been ground into a very fine powder. A natural product used in many types of soaps and lotions, it can also be added to a cool bath.
A 2012 study found that this product is safe and helps treat itching from any variety of causes. You can find colloidal oatmeal at many pharmacies, or make your own by grinding oats into a fine powder.
Try a plant-based product like Aloe-vera gel or cooling menthol for simple itches caused by sunburns or mosquito bites.
Menthol, which produces a cooling effect, is made from the peppermint plant. Topical menthol should be used with caution due to the possibility of it being an irritant to the skin if not diluted. Both of these products can be purchased at most drug stores.
Good quality moisturisers hold water in the outermost layer of your skin. This can help your skin feel hydrated and less dry and itchy.
A cold pack or a bag filled with ice is recommended for a simple solution for mosquito bites. The key is cold. Avoid exposing the affected area to hot water as much as possible. It will only irritate the itching skin more.
Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms, including itching. An antihistamine is a common treatment for allergic reactions. However, many antihistamine drugs will make you sleepy, so they’re best used before bed.
Result from a 1916 study recommends applying topical antihistamines directly to the affected area to avoid side effects associated with oral antihistamines.
An anti-itch cream is another common way to soothe itchy skin. Get an anti-itch cream that contains at least one per cent hydrocortisone.
According to some studies, anti-depressants might be able to help with itching, too. Some of these drugs cause a release of serotonin that can relax the receptors in your body that provoke the itchy feeling. This treatment is typically used in more chronic cases of itching.
When you have an itch, scratching is the natural response. But it won’t help the problem. In fact, it may tear up the skin and prevent it from healing. It may even cause infection. Try extra hard not to scratch your skin. Wear comfortable clothes that do not irritate the skin and keep your fingernails properly trimmed.
When to consult a physician
Regardless of the cause, schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are itching consistently for three or more days. While itching usually doesn’t indicate a serious problem, general itching all over can sometimes be a sign of a serious condition, including thyroid, kidney, liver disease or even cancer.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe itching without any bites, wounds, or rash.