What is pruritus?

Fact Checked

Pruritus is a condition that results to an itchy sensation and the urge to scratch. The usual cause of pruritus is dry skin. Nevertheless, it can be triggered by other skin ailments, medications, pregnancy and even cancer in rare cases.

Who are at risk?

It is important to note that certain groups of individuals are prone to pruritus such as:

  • Individuals with diabetes
    Apply skin creams and lotions that moisturize the skin and prevent dryness.
  • Elderly
  • Atopic individuals (those who have seasonal allergies, asthma, hay fever and eczema)
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with certain ailments including HIV/AIDS and types of cancer
  • Individuals with kidney failure under dialysis


Pinpointing the cause of pruritus is a vital part of treatment. In case a possible drug reaction is likely, substituting to another medication is helpful in alleviating the itchiness.

The ideal ways to avoid pruritus is observing properly skin care. This usually includes a healthy diet and skin protection from further damage. Measures that can help protect the skin include these measures:

  • Apply skin creams and lotions that moisturize the skin and prevent dryness. It is recommended to apply while the skin is still damp after a shower or bath.
  • Apply a sunscreen regularly to prevent skin damage and sunburns.
  • Use a mild soap for bathing and laundry detergent that will not irritate the skin.
  • Take a bath or shower using warm water to alleviate the itchiness and prevent the skin from becoming too dry.
  • Avoid using certain fabrics such as synthetics and wool that can cause itchiness. It is best to switch to cotton clothing and linens.
  • Make sure that the thermostat setting in the house is down and use a humidifier.
  • Apply a cool washcloth or ice pack over the itchy area instead of scratching.

The doctor might even prescribe medications to manage pruritus including topical steroids and antihistamines. In rare cases, stronger medications might be required.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All firstaidcprvictoria.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.