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Got an Itch? Use These Tips for Relief -- and Don't Scratch

Dry homes, chemical cleansers, contagious infections can cause common skin discomfort
(*this news item will not be available after 05/01/2017)
By Robert Preidt
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
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TUESDAY, Jan. 31, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Itchy skin is a common problem, but there are several ways to find relief, a dermatologist says.

"There are many reasons for itchy skin," Dr. Hassan Galadari said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. "It could be the result of a skin condition, such as eczema, shingles, hives or psoriasis, or it could be a sign of a contagious disease, like scabies or ringworm."

To relieve itchy skin, Galadari offers these tips:

  • Apply a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the itchy area for five to 10 minutes or until the itch subsides. Or take an oatmeal bath.
  • Use skin moisturizers that contain no additives, fragrances or perfumes.
  • Apply topical anesthetics that contain pramoxine.
  • Apply cooling agents such as menthol or calamine, or refrigerate your moisturizer to help achieve this cooling effect.
  • Avoid scratching. It will irritate your skin and could lead to infection.

To prevent itching, bathe in lukewarm, not hot, water; limit baths or showers to 10 minutes; use fragrance-free lotions, soaps and detergents; wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes; keep your home relatively cool with neutral humidity; and use a humidifier in winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema.

"If your itch does not go away with home treatment, see a board-certified dermatologist. Some people have more than one reason to scratch, and a dermatologist can work with you to find the cause and relieve your itching," said Galadari, who practices in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, January 2017

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