Home treatment can often relieve discomfort and itching.
Keep the itchy area cool and moist. Apply
washcloths soaked in ice water. But remember that repeated wetting and
drying will actually dry your skin.
Keep cool and stay out of the
sun. Heat increases itching.
Avoid taking a hot shower or bath.
Keep the water as cool as you can tolerate.
Add a handful of oatmeal (ground to a powder) to your bath. Or you can try an oatmeal bath product, such as Aveeno.
Try a nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream for
small itchy areas.
Use the cream very sparingly on the face or
If itching is severe, your doctor may
prescribe a stronger cream.
Use a nonprescription antihistamine medicine,
such as a nondrowsy one like loratadine (Claritin) or one that might make you sleepy like diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
Avoid dry skin, which will worsen itching caused by a
rash. Apply a moisturizer or calamine lotion to the skin while it is damp. Dry
skin may make itching worse. For more information, see the topic Dry Skin and
Avoid scratching as much as possible. Scratching leads to
more scratching. Cut nails short or wear cotton gloves at night to prevent
Use as little soap as possible.
Use gentle soaps, such as Aveeno, Cetaphil,
or Dove. Avoid deodorant soaps when you have a
Try washing your clothes with a
mild detergent such as Cheer Free & Gentle or Ecover.
Rinse twice to remove all traces of the cleaning product. Avoid strong
detergents when you have a rash.
Take several breaks
during the day to do a relaxation exercise, particularly before going to bed if
stress appears to cause your itching or make it worse.
Sit or lie down, and try to clear your mind
of distracting thoughts. Concentrate on relaxing every muscle in your body,
starting with your toes and going up to your head.
information, see the topic Stress Management.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerEllen K. Roh, MD - Dermatology
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