The risk factors that can heighten the likelihood of pruritus often depend on the factors that cause the itching.
Some of the risk factors for pruritus include:
- Eating of foods that contain allergens – These can be fruits like strawberry and seafood like crabs, certain shrimps, fish, clams and other shellfishes
- For sensitive skin it could be – Friction from sheets or certain clothing that come into contact with the skin
- Scratching – Sometimes the act of scratching can exacerbate the itching sensation which in turn will elicit more scratching
- Insect bites – These can include contact with caterpillar hairs and insect bites
- Contact with plants that secrete toxic substances
- Stress – These can include anger or even extreme joy. Severe stress can result in a person developing hives
- Exposure to stinging plants like poison ivy
- People taking certain medications – Cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy can have itching side effects from the treatments.
- Diseases – Diseases like to AIDS and many types of cancers often cause uncontrolled episodes of itching
- Crowded Areas – People in poor living conditions or in overcrowded places are likely to suffer from scabies, lice or mite infestation or even smallpox and chickenpox, all factors that cause skin itching
- Traveling – People who often travel are prone to exposure to allergens or parasites that can cause skin itching
- Excessive body cleaning – Aggressive hygiene and skin care particularly in children make the skin more sensitive and itchy. Excessive cleaning of body parts such as the anus and vulva can make these areas sensitive and itchy and may cause them to dysfunction as well
- People with pets – Pets can bring lice and mites with them. Animal dander from your dog or cat can be allergic to you and make you feel itchy all over.
- Tight shoes – The wearing of sports shoes and synthetic socks can lead to juvenile plantar dermatosis or athlete’s foot. Both of these conditions can lead to skin itching in the affected areas.
- Family history – People with family members who have allergy are likely to carry the allergy gene that can lead to itchiness during an allergic reaction
Dr. Cui Han is a Florida licensed acupuncture physician and the founder of AcuHealing Medical Center in Miami, FL.