Itch (cont.)

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What are possible complications of itching?

As mentioned previously, a secondary bacterial infection of the skin is perhaps the most common complication of itching. This occurs not as a result of the itch but as a result of the scratching and associated skin damage. Antibiotics may be required to treat a bacterial infection of the skin. Itching itself is unlikely to lead to other complications, although some of the underlying diseases that cause itching (see above) are associated with complications specific to the disease itself.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for itching?

Itching itself is not associated with long-term problems or harm, and most cases of itch are temporary and resolve on their own or with topical or oral treatments. Itching that is associated with a serious condition may persist if the condition worsens or it may be managed with medications.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology


Butler, David F. "Pruritus and Systemic Disease." May 31, 2012. <>.

Mann, Julianne. "Brachioradial Pruritus." June 18, 2012. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Cercarial Dermatitis." Nov. 2, 2010.<>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "Pruritus." Jan. 21, 2009. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/27/2014

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