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Itching

Also called: Pruritus
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Summary

What is itching?

Itching is an irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch your skin. Sometimes it can feel like pain, but it is different. Often, you feel itchy in one area in your body, but sometimes you may feel itching all over. Along with the itching, you may also have a rash or hives.

What causes itching?

Itching is a symptom of many health conditions. Some common causes are

What are the treatments for itching?

Most itching is not serious. To feel better, you could try

  • Applying cold compresses
  • Using moisturizing lotions
  • Taking lukewarm or oatmeal baths
  • Using over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or antihistamines
  • Avoiding scratching, wearing irritating fabrics, and exposure to high heat and humidity

Contact your health care provider if your itching is severe, does not go away after a few weeks, or does not have an apparent cause. You may need other treatments, such as medicines or light therapy. If you have an underlying disease that is causing the itching, treating that disease may help.

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