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Symptoms and Causes of Itching
Typically, an itch is only short term, but if it continues for six weeks or more, it can be considered a chronic itch. Board-certified dermatologists are trained to evaluate the severity of an itch, identify the cause and provide treatment.
Itchy skin has many causes, whether its age, dry skin, reactions to medication, bug bites, reactions to certain clothing or cosmetic products, or changes in weather. Many skin diseases like hives or eczema can begin with itching. The most common cause of itching in babies and children is eczema. Itching can also be a sign of contagious disease like scabies, shingles or ringworm. Itching can also be an indication of internal disease too, like kidney disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
See a dermatologist if you have:
Relieving Itching At Home
Preventing Flare Ups
Avoid scratching as much as possible, this will only further irritate your skin and increase the risk of infection. You can also:
To diagnose an itch, your dermatologist will examine your skin and ask you some questions. Depending on your case, a blood test or skin biopsy may be recommended. If it’s suspected that your itch is being caused by an underlying disease, you may be referred to another doctor for additional evaluation.
The recommended treatment will depend on the cause of your itch. If it’s being caused by a skin condition, a medicine to treat will be prescribed. This could include oral pills, topical medication or medicine injected via a shot. Ultraviolet light therapy may also be suggested an option. Oral antihistamines can relieve itch, but are not helpful for all types of itching. Your dermatologist can confirm if they will be helpful. Medication that targets your nerves or neurotransmitters may also be suggested, such as antiepileptic/anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants. An at-home skin care regimen may be recommended too.