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How does the nervous system cause itching?

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Your nervous system can get confused when it’s sick and accidentally tell the nerves on the skin to start itching when there’s nothing there to cause it. There is no rash. But your skin may appear irritated if you’ve been scratching a lot. Your brain may send an itch signal to the nerves in your skin, even though there is nothing there to cause it. You can get it from:

  • Shingles
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Nerve damage

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Skin Allergy.”

American Academy of Dermatology.

Jain, S. Current Psychiatry, October 2013.

Moses, S. American Family Physician, September 2003.

National Cancer Institute: “Pruritus.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.”

Oaklander, A. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, March 2012.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: “Pruritus.”

Yonova, D. Hippokratia, April-June 2007.

Yosipovitch, G. Dermatologic Therapy, March 2008.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on December 9, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Skin Allergy.”

American Academy of Dermatology.

Jain, S. Current Psychiatry, October 2013.

Moses, S. American Family Physician, September 2003.

National Cancer Institute: “Pruritus.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.”

Oaklander, A. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, March 2012.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: “Pruritus.”

Yonova, D. Hippokratia, April-June 2007.

Yosipovitch, G. Dermatologic Therapy, March 2008.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on December 9, 2019

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