Q:

How do you stop severe itching?

A:

Ways to cure or prevent severe itching include applying topical treatments, eating certain foods and avoiding harsh chemicals. In some cases, doctors prescribe drugs or other remedies.

Itchy skin is caused by infections, insect bites, diseases, stress, cleaning products and laundry soap, a poor diet, and exposure to the sun. Anti-itch creams and lotions with ingredients such as camphor, menthol and phenol relieve the symptoms. The diphenhydramine in Benadryl and other products also is effective, though it can cause extreme drowsiness. Doctors sometimes prescribe corticosteroid medications.

Some people find it helpful to consume more fish or flaxseed oil, because the fatty acids keep the skin hydrated. Oatmeal and other oat products contain substances that reduce inflammation and redness. Applying pure petroleum jelly or a moisturizing skin sanitizer may help. To prevent irritations that lead to itchy skin, wear rubber gloves to avoid exposure to household cleaners and detergents, bathe in water free of chlorine and other chemicals, and clean bedding and carpeting often to get rid of dust mites.

To stop itching from becoming more intense, it is important to resist the urge to scratch or rub the affected area. It is also important because breaking the skin sometimes leads to a bacterial infection. Consult a doctor if an itch occurs with a blister, rash or skin bumps. Dry skin can develop into eczema or dermatitis. Occasionally itching is an indication of a chronic ailment like liver disease.


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