If you’ve ever experienced an itching sensation all over your body, you know how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be.
It’s a really annoying and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch. It is often caused by dry skin and is common in older adults, as skin becomes drier as we age
Sometimes, itching affects only specific areas, while in others, it can give the sensation of itching all over the body.
Itching isn’t something to worry about, and it can be relieved with medication, moisturizers, or home remedies.
Constant itching can disrupt your daily life and leave you puzzled about its cause. In this article, we will talk about various infections that cause itching all over the body. And also look at its symptoms, causes, treatment options, and some home care tips.
Itching medically, known as pruritus (proo-RIE-tus), is characterized by an intense and irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. While itchy skin is often noticed by redness and inflammation, here are some other signs of it include:
- Dry or flaky skin
- Raised bumps or blisters
- Rash or hives
- Inflamed skin
- Leathery or scaly patches
- Burning or stinging sensations
Sometimes itchiness lasts a long time and can be harsh. If you scratch the itchy area, it can make it more itchier.
Which infection causes Itching all over the body?
It’s not just one infection that causes itching all over the body. Several infections, including fungal, parasitic, viral, and bacterial, can lead to widespread itching throughout the body.
Fungal skin infections can cause itchiness and discomfort, but they’re rarely serious. These infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, candidiasis (yeast infection), and jock itch can cause intense itching due to their effect on the skin’s surface.
These infections are often seen in warm and moist areas of the body and are often accompanied by redness, scaling, and discomfort.
Parasitic infections are any illnesses or conditions in which parasites live and reproduce in your body.
A type of it, Ectoparasites are spider-like bugs that burrow into your skin and can cause severe itching. This includes lice, scabies mites, ticks, and fleas.
Scabies mites burrow into the skin, particularly in the folds of the hands, wrists, and genitals, leading to intense itching that worsens at night.
Lice infestations in the scalp or other hairy areas of the body can also result in constant itching.
Usually, they don’t infect other parts of your body.
Some viral infections, including chickenpox and shingles (caused by the varicella-zoster virus), can cause generalized itching due to their impact on the nervous system. The viral particles irritate nerve fibers, resulting in a widespread itch that that might come with a rash.
Bacterial infections like folliculitis or cellulitis can cause your skin to be itchy. Folliculitis is a skin condition that occurs by inflammation of the hair follicles. It’s usually caused by a bacterial infection.
Folliculitis causes small red bumps that are often itchy. Cellulitis is a more serious bacterial infection that affects deep in the layers of the skin and cause redness, swelling, warmth, and itching.
Sometimes allergic reactions to certain substances or medications can cause itching all over the body. This type of reaction is typically accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- difficulty breathing
While these infections are common culprits for generalized itching, it’s important to note that there are many other potential causes as well. If you’re experiencing constant or severe itching all over your body, consult to your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
What skin conditions cause Itchy skin?
In addition to infections, many other common skin conditions can cause itchy skin. The following can impact any area of skin on the body:
1. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis):
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that includes dry, itchy skin. It often appears as red, scaly patches and can be caused by several factors like allergens, irritants, stress, or changes in temperature.
Psoriasis is a skin disorder that cause an itchy rash, usually found on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp.
It is an autoimmune disease that results in the rapid buildup of skin cells in the surface of the body. The accumulation of these cells causes itchy, thickened patches, and skin discoloration, usually in the form of plaques.
3. Dermatitis Herpetiformis:
Dermatitis herpetiformis is like a skin manifestation of celiac disease. It presents as itchy clusters of small blisters or red bumps, usually found on the elbows, knees, buttocks, and back.
4. Urticaria (Hives):
Urticaria, commonly known as hives, is characterized by raised, itchy welts that pop up on your skin suddenly and disappear within hours. Allergic reactions to various foods, medications, or other triggers often cause hives.
These are just a few examples of skin conditions that can cause itching. If you see any of these conditions or experience persistent itching all over your body, consult with a dermatologist for an appropriate treatment plan.
How do I stop uncontrollable Itching all over my body?
If you’re dealing with uncontrollable itching all over your body finding relief may seem like an elusive task.
However, the following strategies can help you to alleviate this discomfort:
- Keep your skin moisturized: Dry skin can make itching worse. Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer regularly, and limit your time in the bath or shower to keep your skin hydrated.
- Avoid hot showers: Hot water removes natural oils from your skin and may worsen hives or dry skin. Use lukewarm showers instead.
- Use gentle cleansers: Harsh soaps and sulfate-types of cleansers can further dry out your skin. Choose mild, fragrance-free cleansers to minimize irritation.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothes can irritate the skin and worsen itching. Choose loose, breathable fabrics that allow your skin to breathe.
- Apply cool compresses: Placing a cool, damp cloth on itchy areas can provide temporary relief and soothe the skin.
- Avoid scratching: Scratching makes the itch worse and can harm your skin or cause infection.
These self-care measures provide you a temporary relief from the pain. However, addressing the root cause of your itching is important for long-term relief.
Treatment options for Itching
Treatment options for itching all over the body depend on its underlying cause.
Once you know what’s causing your symptoms, a healthcare professional can suggest the right treatment options, like medication, therapies, and other natural remedies.
- Antifungal medications: For fungal infections like ringworm or candidiasis, antifungal creams or oral medications are often prescribed. In 2019 study, certain antibiotics, like rifampicin (Rifadin), can also be used to help control itchiness caused by liver disease.
- Topical corticosteroids: In cases of eczema or dermatitis, topical corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and alleviate itching.
- Antihistamines: Oral antihistamines are commonly used to relieve itching or rashes caused by allergies, insect bites or stings, eczema, dermatographia, and contact dermatitis.
- Prescription medications: In more severe cases, prescription-strength treatments such as immunosuppressants or biologic drugs may be necessary.
- Bile acid sequestrants: Bile acid sequestrants are medications used to reduce bile salts in the body, which can help manage itching associated with cholestasis.
- Phototherapy: It is a type of light therapy that may be used to treat chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis.
Remember, self-diagnosis and self-medication should be avoided when dealing with widespread itching all over your body.
Home care for Itching
Besides medical treatments, there are several things you can do at home that can help manage itching:
- Taking cool baths or showers with oatmeal or baking soda can soothe irritated skin and provide temporary relief from itching.
- Avoid any irritants that may worsen your itching, such as certain fabrics, skin care products, or allergens.
- Trimming your nails short can help prevent skin damage if you scratch the itchy areas.
- Eating a diet that can help you in reducing inflammation. Like omega-3 fatty acids, which are especially beneficial for managing Itching all over the body.
- Stress can worsen itching. Try to manage your stress through activities like yoga or meditation.
Home care practices can provide relief, but it’s advised to first get professional medical advice.
Experiencing itching all over your body can be frustrating and uncomfortable. It’s important to understand the potential infections and skin conditions that can cause this sensation so you can find effective relief.
Talk to your doctor who can provide you an accurate diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan according to your specific needs. In the meantime, practice gentle skincare habits, avoid scratching, and explore self-care measures to manage your symptoms.
With the right care and guidance, you can take back control of your itching and bring comfort back into your daily life.
Resources of the Article
- [Mayo Clinic – Itchy skin (pruritus)](https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/itchy-skin/symptoms-causes/syc-20355006)
- Healthline – What’s Causing My Skin to Itch?
- MedlinePlus – Itching