How to Stop Itching

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How to Stop Itching. Skin comes into contact with many things every day, and at least a few of them lead to an itch--bug bites, poison ivy, oak or allergens. Skin can even cause itself to itch when it gets dry. When you itch, you scratch, and that just adds to the vicious cycle. Follow these steps to stop itching.

Keep your fingernails away from the itch. Scratching just makes the itching worse. Most itching urges pass after 24 to 48 hours.

Remove the irritant causing the itching. Cleanse skin gently with soap and water to remove plant oils from poison ivy. Add aloe vera gel to dry skin.

Bathe in lukewarm water. Add a product like Aveeno made to stop itching. The ever versatile baking soda can also be added to the bath.

Lay a cold compresses over the itch. Better yet, try ice to temporarily numb the itching area.

Try an over-the-counter product to stop itching. Calamine lotion produces mixed results. Hydrocortisone works more effectively. For severe cases, a doctor can prescribe a stronger hydrocortisone preparation. Follow directions for amounts.

Experiment with folk remedies. Soaking in a bath with a cup of bleach added may help itching from plant sources. Dab a chigger with clear fingernail polish to kill the microscopic bug.

Take an oral antihistamine made from diphenhydramine. Benadryl is the most common version, but it can make you sleepy. Cream versions are available, but be careful not to overdo with it. Absorbing too much through the skin can be dangerous.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear loose, cotton clothing if your itch comes from poison ivy or psoriasis. Tight clothing or scratchy fabric only makes irritated areas worse.
  • Prevent causes of itching before they start. Keep skin covered. Learn to recognize and avoid poison ivy, oak or sumac. Use insect repellent to repel bugs.
  • Seek medical attention if your itch does not subside or if it spreads to a wide area of your body. In rare cases, generalized itching may indicate a serious medical condition such as liver failure or cancer.
  • Itching accompanied by wheezing, choking or swelling of the mucous membranes is a medical emergency, usually brought on by a severe allergic reaction. Call 911.

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