Dr Tarun Narang,department of dermatology,PGIMER educated the general public about the causes and some simple measures that can relieve itching,during a one-hour long public lecture on Itching Disorders,held at new OPD,PGI on Friday.
The doctor said,Itching is an intense,distracting irritation or tickling sensation that may be felt all over the skin or at just one area. It should not be ignored and treated properly as severe and persistent itching can lead to difficulty in sleeping,anxiety and depression.
The doctor,talking about the causes of itching said,The recent discovery of itch-specific nerve cells has given a better understanding of the causes of the itching sensation. To know the specific cause of itch,a panel of blood tests,skin scrapping or biopsy may be needed to help make the diagnosis.
Itching all over the body can be caused by something as simple as bathing too often or medical condition like diabetes mellitus,liver diseases,kidney failure,jaundice and other conditions. Stress and emotional disturbance can make itching worse, he said.
Itchy skin should be treated very gently. One should not scratch,as scratching may temporarily ease the itch,but in the long run,it just makes the problem worse. It can lead to endless cycle of more itching and scratching.
He said that there are some simple measures that can relieve itching and these include moisturizers,topical lotions or creams with menthol,camphor or calamine,mild,hydrating cleansers,application of cold water compresses for localised areas of itching and wearing light,loose fitting clothing and staying cool. If these simple measures are inadequate to relieve the itching or the main cause of the itching is not apparent,then one must consult a dermatologist, Dr Tarun said.