Pruritus is defined as an itch that urges one to scratch the site. The usual cause of pruritus is dry skin, but can also be caused by other skin conditions, medications or pregnancy.
Who are at risk?
There are certain individuals who are prone to develop pruritus such as:
- Individuals diagnosed with diabetes
- Atopic individuals
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with diseases including HIV/AIDs and certain forms of cancer
- Individuals with kidney failure under dialysis
Management of pruritus
Determining the root cause of pruritus is vital so that proper treatment can be started. In case a medication is the cause, switching to a different one might help in reducing the discomfort.
The ideal way to prevent pruritus is proper skin care. Generally, this includes a healthy diet and protecting the skin from damage.
Some of the measures in protecting the skin typically include:
- Applying skin lotions and creams to moisturize the skin and prevent dryness. It is recommended to apply while the skin is damp after a shower or bath.
- Use a mild soap and laundry detergent that will not trigger skin irritation
- Apply sunscreen regularly to prevent skin damage and sunburn
- Take a bath or shower using warm water to lessen the itchiness and avoid dryness of the skin
- Avoid using certain fabrics such as synthetics and wool that can trigger itchiness of the skin. It is best to switch to cotton-based clothes and bed sheets.
- The thermostat setting in the house must be low and utilize a humidifier.
- For relief to the itchiness, apply a cool washcloth or ice on the site instead of scratching.
The doctor might also prescribe medications to manage pruritus such as topical steroids and antihistamines.