Practical Guidelines for the Relief of Itch

Gil Yosipovitch; Jennifer L. Hundley


Dermatology Nursing. 2004;16(4) 

In This Article

Miscellaneous Tips for Reducing Itch

As mentioned previously, keeping skin moisturized adequately can help reduce itch. Patients can be counseled to restrict their time in the shower or bath, to use cool or lukewarm rather than hot water which can aggravate itch, and to use mild cleansers in intertriginous areas only. Using a humidifier at home, especially in winter, can be helpful as well (Charlesworth & Beltrani, 2002). Patients who itch may profit from staying cool by wearing light clothing and trying to maintain a cool ambient temperature (Twycross et al., 2003). They should also attempt to avoid abrupt changes in environmental humidity. Avoiding hot or spicy foods and alcoholic beverages, which induce histamine secretion, may help as well. Finally, keeping fingernails short may prevent skin damage if patients cannot resist the urge to scratch (see Table 1 ).

Dermatology nurses may be the first line of health care workers to interact with patients who present with the complaint of itching. By recommending the lifestyle modifications and topical preparations described here, nurses will provide patients experiencing pruritus with practical measures for reducing the intensity of itch.

The print version of this article was originally certified for CE credit. For accreditation details, please contact the publisher, Jannetti Publications, Inc.; East Holly Avenue Box 56; Pitman, NJ 08071.


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