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Itching; 2 MINUTES ON...

Byline: MIRIAM STOPPARD

Itching, also known as pruritus, is a common symptom of many skin conditions.

It may be restricted to a small area or widespread over the body. Continual scratching, which often damages the skin, aggravates the problem.

What are the causes?

An insect bite is often very itchy. An itchy rash is the main symptom of conditions such as urticaria, eczema, lichen planus, and parasitic skin infestations such as scabies.

Widespread itching may develop as a result of dry skin, an irritant reaction to particular bath products or detergents, or an allergic reaction to certain drugs. It can also be a symptom of liver disease or chronic kidney failure.

What can I do?

Emollients will help moisturise dry and itching skin, particularly if you apply them after washing or bathing.

To relieve severe itching, you may find that using over-thecounter oral antihistamines, topical corticosteroids or calamine is helpful.

As far as possible, you should avoid substances that are likely to irritate the skin, such as scented bath products, detergents or woollen garments.

You may benefit from wearing loose-fitting clothing made of a fabric that doesn't irritate the skin.

You should also make sure you keep your fingernails cut short so that you cannot damage your skin when you are scratching.

You should contact your doctor if you have persistent itching for which there's no obvious cause.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 28, 2014
Words:228
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