Avoid further contact with whatever you suspect is causing the itching.
Keep the itchy area cool and wet. Apply a
washcloth that has been soaked in ice water, or get in a cool tub or
shower. But remember that repeated wetting and drying will actually dry your skin.
Avoid taking a hot shower or bath. Keep the water as cool as you can tolerate.
Take an oatmeal bath or hold an oatmeal-soaked washcloth on
the itchy area for 15 minutes.
You can buy an oatmeal powder, such as
Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal, in drugstores.
you prefer, you can make your own oatmeal solution. Wrap
1 cup (0.2 L) of oatmeal in a
cotton cloth, and boil it for a few minutes until it is soft. Use this as a
sponge, and bathe in cool water without soap.
Apply a paste of baking soda mixed with
If any of these home remedies make the itching worse, stop
To keep itching from getting worse
You may be able
to prevent itching from getting worse.
Stay out of the sun and in a cool place. Heat
Use as little soap as possible. If you use soap, use a gentle one, such as Dove, Oil of Olay, or
Basis. Avoid using strong soaps and deodorant soaps around blisters or a
Try a cool, saltwater compress. To make the solution for the
compress, use 2 tsp of salt in
1 qt (1 L) of cool water. Wet a
washcloth with the solution and apply the cloth to your skin.
Avoid dry skin, which will worsen itching. Apply a moisturizer or calamine lotion to the skin while it is damp. For more information, see the topic Dry Skin and Itching.
Wear cotton or silk clothing. Avoid wearing wool and acrylic fabrics next to your skin.
Try washing your clothes with a mild detergent such as Cheer Free and 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.
Don't scratch. Scratching leads to more
itching and may cause a skin infection to develop. Cut nails short or wear cotton gloves at night
to prevent scratching. Put mittens or cotton socks on the hands of babies and
young children to prevent scratching.
Over-the-counter medicines for itching
treatment doesn't relieve the itching, you may want to try taking an
Try a nonprescription 1% hydrocortisone cream for small itchy areas.
Use only a tiny amount of cream on the face or genitals.
If itching is severe, your doctor may prescribe a stronger cream.
Note: Don't use the
cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. Don't
use it in the rectal or vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless your
doctor tells you to.
Calamine lotion may help dry out itchy, oozing
antihistamines, like diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine (such as Chlor-Trimeton), may
relieve the itching, but they also can cause drowsiness. Don't give
antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
Read and follow any warnings on the label.
Avoid applying antihistamine, such as Benadryl cream, spray, or
gel, or Caladryl lotion, to the skin. These products may further irritate your
skin. Also, it is more difficult to control the dosage of medicine that is
absorbed through the skin.
If the itching is severe and it interferes with sleep or other activities for more than 2 days, call your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.