What is pruritus?

Pruritus or itching is a type of itching or uncomfortable irritation of the skin that causes the need to scratch the affected area. It can be of two types: generalized (affecting the whole body) or localized (affecting a specific part of the body).

Although pruritus was once thought to be a type of low-intensity pain, it is now known that it is actually a different sensation from pain, as it has its own line of connection to the brain.

What are the causes of pruritus?

Itching, whether localized or generalized, can have several causes: chemical irritation (from a particular plant), environmental factors (sunstroke), dandruff, urticaria, fungal infections, bites or parasite bites (lice, mosquitoes, spiders, fleas). As for generalized itching, the causes may be: allergic reactions, infectious diseases, reactions to drugs or kidney or liver diseases.

Can pruritus be prevented?

It cannot be prevented, but some advice can be followed to avoid further damage to the affected area:

  • Do not scratch
  • Wear comfortable, fresh and clean clothing
  • Use little soap
  • Use moisturizing cream
  • Apply cold compresses to the affected area.
  • Avoid humidity, excessive heat or a dry environment.
  • Rest or do activities that help to distract you.

What is the treatment of pruritus?

If the itching is intense, does not go away or is difficult to explain, it is important to see a specialist. If it is due to one of the pathologies explained above, the diseases will be treated. On the other hand, if the causes are external, a specific cream is usually used to treat the affected area and, in some cases, also the application of drugs, especially antihistamines.