It is tempting to scratch an itch, but try to avoid this. There are different ways to soothe and manage itching.
Washing and drying:
- Limit the number of baths you take, use lukewarm water and very little or no soap.
- Don't spend too long in the water and no more than 20 minutes.
- Instead of soap, use a moisturising liquid (emollient), such as aqueous cream, Oilatum or Diprobase, prescribed by your doctor or nurse.
- Pat your skin dry with a towel rather than rubbing.
- Dry the skin thoroughly after bathing. This reduces the chance of chaffing and fungal infection.
Creams, lotions and moisturisers:
- Avoid perfumed, scented and lanolin-based lotions and moisurisers as these can dry the skin and cause more itching.
- Use odourless and colourless moisturiser, such as epaderm and hydromol, which you can get from the chemist. Apply 4 times a day.
- Moisturise your skin straight after you bathe. Apply the moisturiser in the same direction as your hair grows.
What to wear:
- Wear cotton and linen, rather than wool or man-made materials, which can irritate the skin.
- Keep your bedclothes light.
- Use an electric razor rather than wet shaving.
- Drink plenty, preferably water (2-to-3 litres a day).
- Keep your nails short to reduce the risk of scratching your skin.
- Avoid highly-perfumed washing products for washing and bedding.
- Try to keep an even, cool temperature in your room, as getting hot can make itching worse.
Instead of scratching, try the following:
- gently pinch an area of skin close to the itch
- rub, tap or press the area
- put a cool pack on the skin
- gently apply more moisturiser
When to contact your doctor or nurse
Contact your doctor or nurse if you:
- notice the itching gets worse
- see the itchy area getting more red and sore
- see any pus coming from the skin or it smells
- are unable to sleep because of the itching