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How can itches be different?

ANSWER

Not all itches are alike. Many happen when your body reacts to pollen, nuts, and other allergens by having your immune system make a chemical called histamine. Others come from a problem with your nervous system, like shingles or a stroke. With those, you might feel numbness and tingling along with the itch.

If you have psoriasis, your itching may feel more like burning. Some people compare it to being attacked by fire ants. Some drugs, like one used to treat malaria, cause a painful all-over itch.

Whatever the reason, it’s important not to scratch too much. It can lead to skin wounds, infections, and scarring. It can also make you anxious and stressed.

SOURCES:

Washington University, St. Louis: “Why scratching makes you itch more.”

University of California Berkeley: “Pain and itch connected deep down.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Dry Skin/Itchy Skin.”

Mayo Clinic: “Itchy skin (pruritus.)”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Managing Itch.”

NHS Choices: “Eczema in Children: 7 Steps to Stop the Itch,” “Itching -- Treatment,” “Topical Corticosteroids.”

Nature Reviews Neuroscience: “Sensory neurons and circuits mediating itch.”

Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: “Management of Itch in Atopic Dermatitis.”

British Medical Journal: “Referred itch (Mitempfindung.)”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “What Makes Us Itch?”

Cancer Research UK: “Tips to cope with itching.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Itching.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on July 06, 2017

SOURCES:

Washington University, St. Louis: “Why scratching makes you itch more.”

University of California Berkeley: “Pain and itch connected deep down.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Dry Skin/Itchy Skin.”

Mayo Clinic: “Itchy skin (pruritus.)”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Managing Itch.”

NHS Choices: “Eczema in Children: 7 Steps to Stop the Itch,” “Itching -- Treatment,” “Topical Corticosteroids.”

Nature Reviews Neuroscience: “Sensory neurons and circuits mediating itch.”

Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery: “Management of Itch in Atopic Dermatitis.”

British Medical Journal: “Referred itch (Mitempfindung.)”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “What Makes Us Itch?”

Cancer Research UK: “Tips to cope with itching.”

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Itching.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on July 06, 2017

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What are some tips for when I itch?

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