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SCRATCH AN ITCH AND YOU'LL SCRATCH SOME MORE

Itching and scratching are age-old human annoyances, often intensified as winter gives way to spring and summer weather.

Skin itching, or pruritis in medical terms, can have numerous causes, according to the experts at the Lanacane Itch Information Center. These include dry skin itch, allergic reactions, sunburn, itching from insect bites and stings, chemicals and soaps, poison ivy or poison oak contact.Researchers say whatever the cause, although scratching may give short-term relief, it often leads to more itching and scratching and can damage the skin and trigger infection.

Scientists believe itchy skin can be calmed by applying a topical anesthetic that subdues the itch nerves, or a topical hydrocortisone if itch is accompanied by inflammation or swelling.