Itchy Skin Conditions
Hello, my name is DR. Stephen Mandy, and I am a Dermatologist associated with South Beach Dermatology in Miami Beach, Florida. Let's talk a little about itchy skin conditions. Itching skin will bring patients to a Dermatologist quickly, it's one of the most uncomfortable sensations that one can have. Interestingly, the itch impulse is also the same nerve fibers that's carried by pain. There are lots of causes for itching. Obviously we're all familiar with Mosquito bites, we're all familiar with things like Poison Ivy. These stimulate the nerves in the skin to illicit the itch response, often times through the transmission of histamine, which exists, is released in the skin through mass cells. However, there are many, many other causes for itching. There are infestations with Parasites, there are irritants such as Fiber Glass Dermatitis, Wool is a common cause of itching. And, of course, one of the most bothersome to many patients is what we call Urticaria, or Hives. Hives represent an immediate allergic reaction, we call that immediate Anaphylaxis. It will occur after ingestion of any one of a number of drugs and/or foods, most commonly things like Shellfish, or Strawberries, or Peanuts, and we all have heard of Peanut allergy. This creates an immediate response in the skin, analogous to a Mosquito bite where you get this wheel, the swelling of the skin, intense itching and Hives are characterized by lasting only a period of about thirty or so minutes and then, they move around which is very distressing to patients. Hives can usually be relieved by taking an Antihistamine in which there are a variety of over the counter Antihistamines that are quite effective. Drug such a Zyrtec, Claritine, Benadryl will often relieve the Hives, at least for a temporary time, however, always with itching of the skin that persists more than a short period of time, a few days, you should seek consultation with a Dermatologist to see if there's an underlying cause that needs to be remedied.