Itching

Photo by Orrling and Tomer S

HEALTH IS WEALTH

There are persons who are perennially beset by itching on any surface of their skin- on their arms, hands, head, neck, back and worse on their sex organs of which they are forced to inevitably scratch even in public! Most of the poor victims commonly attribute this recurrent itchiness to the existence of “dirt” (buling) that it may be causing it. So, in order to eliminate the itchiness, they are forced to take a bath every day, using a toilet soap with the belief that upon removing or killing the harmful microorganism or germs (bacteria, virus, etc.,) the itchiness may disappear. But some Filipino victims have the belief that it is dead skin which is the cause of the recurrent itchiness. So, they let a close relative or any confident robbed the back (lugod) with a small rough-surface-stone to remove the first layer of dead skin with belief that the itchiness will finally disappear. However, the itchiness still remains to exist. Hence, let us refer to an authoritative study as to what is really the real cause of itchiness in people.

Dermatologists (specialist of the skin) define itchiness or itching as the uncomfortable or irritating sensation felt by the nerve ending located on the surface of the skin, accompanied by the urge to scratch. It has been described as a pricking, stinging, burning, or crawling feeling, and it may be a symptom of a variety of disorders.

The biological reactions that lead to itching are not clearly understood, but it is known that this stimulation of the nerve endings can be caused by both physical and psychological factors.

Itching can be caused by insect bites, small cuts or scrapes, hives and other allergic reactions; a fungus, bacterial or viral infections; the rash that often accompanies infectious diseases such as chicken pox; dry skin, often stemming from bathing or showering too frequently or using harsh soaps; reactions to drugs, and psychological stress.

Itching is characterized by an uneasy discomfort on the skin, the urge to scratch and possibly redness, feeling, and other irritations of the skin as result of scratching. Itching with no obvious cause may be triggered by psychological stress.

Treatment of itching depends on its cause. Itching from dry skin is usually treated by applying skin lotions or creams to small areas and using body lotions or bath oils for larger areas; reducing showers and baths to only twice weekly, as water tends to dry the skin, and trying new brands of soap, shampoo or humidifier.

Psychological stress may be the cause, and the best treatment will involve removing the stress or learning how to deal with it. A doctor should be consulted for persistent itching with no visible cause may be a symptom of diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney failure, liver disease, or cancer.