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ITCHY SKIN- WHAT CAUSES IT?

Itchy skin also known as pruritus can cause a great deal of discomfort in people. Sometimes, it can be tough to diagnose or difficult to understand what exactly is causing the skin to itch. If you have itchy skin and don’t know what’ causing it then talk to your doctor or find a doctor in Pakistan with an online doctor app on your phone and get professional medical advice from home! 

In some cases, something as simple as a rash can cause itchy skin but in other cases it could be the result of another skin condition. Itchy skin can also be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition such as liver disease or kidney failure. For complete recovery and symptoms relief, it is important to identify the problem and treat the underlying cause.

What is a rash exactly?

Our skin acts as a barrier that protects the inside of the body. It contains special cells of the immune system that function to protect the body and skin from different infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and other foreign microbial agents.

Once the skin cells are damaged by an irritant or harmful substance, an immune reaction is triggered by immune cells that causes the area to become inflamed. It walls off the infection and prevents it from spreading to the rest of the body. This inflammation is referred to as a rash or dermatitis. This can lead to itching. Some rashes are red, painful, and irritable, while others can lead to blisters or patches of raw skin.

What causes itchy skin?

Itching is a common symptom when it comes to skin complaints. An itch may be generalized and affect all parts of the body or may be restricted to a specific area depending on the cause. 

Here are some common causes of pruritus or itchy skin:

  • Dry skin. It is one of the most common causes of itchy skin. If the itch is more uniform rather than appearing as isolated red or bumpy patches it is most likely due to dry skin. If your skin becomes scaly, flaky or gets cracks.  Excessive hot or cold weather can cause dry skin. Not drinking enough water and washing too much can also lead to dry skin. A good moisturizer can usually help repair dry skin. Extremely dry skin can be a warning sign of dermatitis, so see a dermatologist to help get relief and keep the condition from becoming worse.
  • Eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, it is the most common cause of skin rash in children. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) report, eczema affects 1 in 5 infants but only 1 in 50 adults. It usually occurs in a patch of skin that has been breached. It makes that area more vulnerable to drying out, irritation and inflammation. 
  • Allergies. When the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen, it can cause allergic contact dermatitis. An allergen is a substance that activates the immune system to elicit a response. The allergic reaction causes itchy skin or an itchy rash that may or may not be associated with small blisters or bumps. Different allergens include clothing, jewelry, pets, chemicals, soaps, and substances such as poison ivy or cosmetics. Food allergies can also cause the skin to itch. The best way to treat a skin allergy is to avoid the allergen once it has been identified. Over-the-counter creams or medicated creams also provide quick symptom relief. 
  • Hives. Inflammation of the skin causing it to become red, swollen and painful is called hives. It is caused by the release of a chemical in the body called histamine. This release causes small blood vessels to leak, which causes the skin to swell. It can either occur after coming into contact with an allergic trigger, such as a particular food or medication. The cause can be non-allergic as well, like extremes of temperature in hot or cold weather, sun exposure, or exercise. Sometimes hives can be a chronic condition and can last for months or years. It causes a great deal of discomfort to the patient but can be managed effectively. According to the ACAAI, hives can affect about 20 percent of people at some point in their life.
  • Bug bites. This is more common than one thinks. Anything from a mosquito bite to a spider bite can cause the skin to flare up and become itchy. The redness caused by most bug bites resolves within 7-14 days. Bed bugs and mites may produce a bigger rash compared to other bugs and can cause the whole body to itch. In case of a bed bug infestation, you need to remove all furniture and clean the room thoroughly with repellent. All affected items should be washed at 60 ºC. You might even have to call fumigation services to ensure complete removal. 
  • Psychological. Certain psychiatric conditions like depression, OCD and anxiety can cause itchy skin. Sometimes there is no physical cause.
  • Other conditions. Itchy skin may also be caused by other conditions like fungal infections, underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease and shingles. 

If you think you have any of the above conditions and itchy skin as a result of it, see your doctor and get treated. Or book an online doctor appointment in Lahore or any city and find an online doctor in Pakistan to help you manage this condition from home! Download the My live doctors app on your smartphone and search for online doctors on the online clinic list in Pakistan

Online health services like My live doctors is a quick and effective way to access qualified healthcare professionals from the comfort of your own home or on the go. 

How do you treat itchy skin? 

Treatment of itchy skin depends on the underlying cause. However, there are certain things you can do for quick symptom relief. 

  • Use a good moisturizer for dry skin 
  • Over the counter anti-itch creams soothe inflamed and sore skin
  • Over the counter oral anti-histamines are also useful
  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area
  • Avoid irritable substances on the skin
  • Choose mild soaps and detergents. 

For a more specific treatment suited to your condition, you will need to see you doctor. Or get an appointment with online physician in Pakistan  at https://mylivedoctors.com