Itching is a symptom we have all experienced. Nevertheless, itching can be difficult for a person to describe to others. While itching symptoms vary, it typically leads to a peculiarly uncomfortable skin sensation. It may feel as if something is crawling on (or in) your skin. Itching can be diffuse (generalized all over the body) or localized -- all over or confined to a specific spot -- and there are many causes of diffuse and localized itching. Itching symptoms can be associated with
- dry skin,
- cracked skin,
- flaky skin,
- flaky scalp,
- skin redness,
- bumps on the skin,
- blisters, or
- spots on the skin.
Itching may be most noticeable at night (nocturnal), during the day, or both. When there are itching symptoms, there can be a leathery or scaly texture to the skin depending on the cause.
Itching can be caused by toxins on the skin (contact dermatitis, such as from poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, or grass oils), medications, liver disease, kidney disease, insect bites, hives (urticarial), rare forms of skin cancer (mycosis fungoides and T-cell lymphomas), infections (including chickenpox and fungal infections such as athlete's foot and jock itch), irritation from clothing, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, hemorrhoids, and many other conditions, or it can remain unexplained. Infectious causes of itching include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), parasites (such as scabies, fleas, bedbugs, pinworms, and lice), and viral rashes.
Perhaps the best definition of itching is by the response it evokes -- it is a feeling that makes you want to scratch. Rash or redness can be present with itching from scratching or from the underlying condition. Medically, itching is known as pruritus. Something that is itchy is said to be pruritic.
A review of our Patient Comments indicated that people with itching may also have coexisting symptoms. One patient reported a sensation of something crawling on her skin, while another mentioned a feeling of something moving in his blood. Sometimes cramping and blistering accompany the itching. A couple of patients noted that taking certain medications caused itching while other medications calmed their itching. Read on to learn more about itching symptoms in our Patient Comments.
Related Symptoms & Signs
Other causes of itch
Diffuse (Generalized) Itching:
- Drug Reactions Such As to Aspirin
- Infectious Diseases
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
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Causes of Itch
Adenovirus infections are common and often have no symptoms. Adenoviruses cause illnesses like bladder infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, pinkeye, colds, encephalitis, sore throat, and meningitis. Signs and symptoms of an adenovirus infection depend on the type of virus causing the infection. Treatment focuses on supportive care. A vaccine against adenovirus type 4 and 7 is available only to U.S. military personnel.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that affects a number of different areas of the body at one time and can be fatal. Causes of anaphylaxis can be a food allergy, latex allergy, allergy to insect stings/bites, asthma, or other materials or conditions. Symptoms include flushing, itching, hives, anxiety, and rapid or irregular pulse. Severe symptoms may be throat and tongue swelling, swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Some disorders appear similar to anaphylaxis such as fainting, panic attacks, blood clots in the lungs, heart attacks, and septic shock. If you think that you may be having an anaphylactic reaction, seek emergency care or call 911 immediately.
Are Bedbugs Contagious?
Bedbugs are brown wingless insects that feed on human blood. The are typically found around a person's sleeping area. Bedbugs feed a nighttime. A series of bedbug bites may appear like a rash. Eradicating a bedbug infestation will usually require the services of an exterminator.
Are Cold Sores (Fever Blisters) Contagious?
About 20% of cases of cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and approximately 80% of cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Cold sores are transmitted by sharing utensils and razors, kissing, and oral sex. There is no cure for cold sores.
Are Hives (Urticaria) Contagious?
Hives are not contagious are triggered by an allergic response to a substance. Symptoms and signs of hives include a raised, itchy red rash on the skin. An individual should seek medical care for hives if he or she develops dysphagia, wheezing, shortness of breath, or throat tightening.
Are Skin Rashes Contagious?
Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
Are Warts Contagious?
Human papillomaviruses cause warts, which are small growths with a rough texture. Warts may cause symptoms and signs such as pain, itching, bleeding, and discomfort depending upon their location. Salicylic acide may effectively treat some warts.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet. Treatment involves keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing shoes that can breathe, and using medicated powders to keep your feet dry.
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Bedbugs (from the insect family Cimicidae) are small, reddish-brown tick-like insects that feed by sucking the blood of mammals. They are often found in poorly sanitized areas or in crowded living quarters.
Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)
Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a rare type of cancer that arises from cells that line the drainage system from the liver and gallbladder to the intestine. Symptoms and signs of bile duct cancer include jaundice, itching, weight loss, and abdominal pain. Physical examination, specialized blood tests, and imaging tests may be used to diagnose bile duct cancer. Treatment for bile duct cancer may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and photodynamic therapy. Bile duct cancer typically has a poor prognosis. Preventing liver damage may decrease the risk of developing bile duct cancer.
A birthmark is any abnormal mark, spot, or bump that is present in or around the time of birth on the skin of an infant. Types of birthmarks include cafe au lait marks, Mongolian spots, strawberry marks, and others. Depending on the birthmark type, birthmarks can be removed by scalpel surgery, lasers, and rarely radiation.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Acne rosacea, staphylococcal bacteria, allergies, sensitivities to makeup or contact lens solutions, head lice, or other conditions may cause blepharitis. Symptoms and signs include itchy eyelids, burning sensation in the eyes, crusting of the eyelids, light sensitivity, red, swollen eyelids, loss of eyelashes, and dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows. Proper eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine controls blepharitis.
Boils (Skin Abscesses)
A boil is a skin abscess, a collection of pus localized deep in the skin. There are several different types of boils. Among them are the following: furuncle or carbuncle, cystic acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pilonidal cyst.
Bullous pemphigoid is a skin disease that causes blistering eruptions on the skin's surface and sometimes affects the inner lining of the mouth. Symptoms include severe itching and burning sensations. Treatment involves topical cortisone and sometimes high doses of cortisone. Severe cases may require immune-suppression drugs such as azathioprine.
Chickenpox (chicken pox) is a contagious childhood disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Symptoms have an incubation period of 14 to 16 days and include a couple days of mild fever, weakness, and red, raised rash that progresses to blisters that eventually burst and crust over. Complications include bacterial infection of the open sores, scarring, encephalitis, nerve palsies, and Reye's syndrome.
Contact dermatitis is a rash that occurs after exposure to an irritant. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include a red, elevated rash at the site of contact with the irritating substance. Contact dermatitis treatment may involve creams, application of cool water compresses, and applying topical steroids.
Dandruff (seborrhea) is a skin disorder that results from neither too much moisture nor too much oil. Dandruff can be treated with shampoos that contain tar, salicylic acid, zinc, selenium sulfide, or ketoconazole.
Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp
Dandruff is a condition characterized by small white flakes that shed from the scalp. Dry scalp is simply dry skin on one's head. Dry scalp is uncommon, and dandruff is very common. Dandruff treatment and prevention incorporates the regular use of an anti-dandruff shampoo.
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain medications, or internal factors, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms and signs of dry skin include itching and red, cracked, or flaky skin. The main treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication of the skin.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics may cause eye allergies. Allergic eye conditions include allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Dry eye, tear-duct obstruction, and conjunctivitis due to infection are frequently confused with eye allergies. Eye allergies may be treated with topical antihistamines, decongestants, topical mast-cell stabilizers, topical anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic medications, and allergy shots.
Flea Bites (In Humans)
Flea bites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. The most common species of flea in the US is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Signs and symptoms of flea bites in humans include itching, hives, a rash with bumps, red spots with a "halo," and swelling around the bite. Treatment for flea bites includes over-the-counter medicine and natural and home remedies to relieve and soothe itching and inflammation. The redness of a flea bite can last from a few hours to several days.
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs of a food allergy reaction include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Head lice infection is called pediculosis. Lice are parasites that feed on blood and can be found on the scalp and hair of infected people. Signs and symptoms of head lice infestation include a tickling sensation, itching, and sores on the head. Head lice may be eliminated with various over-the-counter shampoos and washing all clothing and bed linens in the hot water cycle. Combs and brushes should be disinfected, and the floor and furniture should be vacuumed.
Head Lice vs. Dandruff
Dandruff is a condition that causes dry flakes on the scalp. Lice are parasites. Head lice infestations are very contagious. Both head lice and dandruff have similar signs and symptoms: scalp itching and tiny white material on the hair shafts. Lice treatment involves the application of over-the-counter shampoos that contain permethrin or pyrethrin followed by nit and louse removal with a fine-toothed comb. Dandruff treatment incorporates the use of anti-dandruff shampoo.
Heat Rash: Symptoms and Treatment
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating. It can occur at any age and it appears as a rash that itches or feels prickly, and looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. Heat rash remedies include OTC creams and sprays. Usually heat rash resolves when the skin is cooled sufficiently. Medical treatment may be necessary if the sweat glands become infected.
Hemorrhoids (Internal and External)
Hemorrhoids (piles) are swollen veins in the rectum and anus. Causes include pregnancy, obesity, diarrhea, low-fiber diet, and prolonged sitting on the toilet. Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the hemorrhoids. Some treatment options include over-the-counter creams and suppositories, stool softeners, warm sitz baths, and hemorrhoidectomies.
Hepatitis E Viral Infection
Hepatitis E (hep E) is a type of hepatitis viral infection that includes hepatitis A, B, C, D, F, which is caused by the hepatitis E virus. Usually, you get (transmitted) hepatitis E from eating or drinking dirty or contaminated water. Hepatitis E can be very serious, especially if a woman is pregnant. Up to ¼ of women who are pregnant with the hep E virus can die from the infection. The signs and symptoms of hepatitis E infection are nausea and vomiting, brown or dark urine, stool changes jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), pain in the right side of the abdomen, dark or brown urine, and light-colored stool. Some people with hep E don’t have any symptoms so they don’t know that they are contagious. It takes about 6 weeks to recover from hep E. A person who has any type of hepatitis, including hepatitis E, should not drink any alcohol. Hep E complications are rare, but when they do occur they include severe (“fulminant”) hepatitis, liver failure, and death. Currently, no specific drugs or treatments are available for hepatitis E. Moreover, the only hepatitis E vaccine currently is available in China. Avoid alcohol, keep hydrated, and getting rest are home remedies for hepatitis E. Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter (medications), especially those containing acetaminophen (Tylenol and others). Usually, the prognosis and life expectancy for hepatitis E after recovery is good. Most people do not have long term liver problems from the infection.
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin. Most often the cause of hives is unknown. Sometimes it is a sign of an allergic reaction to food or medications, but the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown. Dermatographism and swelling (angioedema) may accompany hives. Treatment to get rid of hives and alleviate symptoms typically includes antihistamines.
How to Stop Anal Itching
Anal itching is the irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, known as the anus, accompanied by the desire to scratch. Causes include everything from irritating foods we eat, to certain diseases, and infections. Treatment options include over-the-counter medications, using moist pads, and gentle cleaning and drying of the anus.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is an accelerated form of breast cancer that is not usually detected by mammogram or ultrasound. Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include pain in the breast, skin change in the breast area, bruise on the breast,sudden swelling of the breast, nipple retraction or discharge, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
Ingrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing, or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs include itching, tenderness, and small red pus bumps. Ingrown hairs usually heal on their own, but topical antibiotics, chemical depilatories, and hair-removal lasers may be used in the treatment of ingrown hairs.
Insect Sting Allergies
The majority of stinging insects in the United States are from bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. Severity of reactions to stings varies greatly. Avoidance and prompt treatment are essential. In selected cases, allergy injection therapy is highly effective.
Intertrigo is a rash, usually found in skin folds, that is caused by rubbing, increased temperature, and moisture. Affected areas may be treated with a weak topical steroid and barrier cream.
Is Chickenpox Contagious?
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. Chickenpox symptoms and signs include a blistering, itchy rash, fatigue, fever, and tiredness. Chickenpox is transmitted via contaminated droplets produced during sneezing or coughing and by coming in contact with blister fluid.
Is Dandruff (Seborrhea) Contagious?
Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) is a chronic condition in which skin on the scalp flakes and sheds. Dandruff is not contagious. Sunlight exposure and stress reduction can improve the symptoms and signs of dandruff.
Is Eczema Contagious?
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by inflamed, rough skin patches that occasionally produce fluid-filled bumps that may ooze. There is no cure for eczema, though eczema may be treated with moisturization, eczema cream, and topical steroids.
Is Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) Contagious?
Jock itch is a fungal infection in the groin area that causes a raised, itchy, red rash. Jock itch can typically be treated with antifungal medications. People may need to seek medical care for jock itch if the groin area becomes swollen, tender, if red streaks appear, or if the lymph nodes become swollen.
Is Pinkeye Contagious?
Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is inflammation of the conjunctiva. Whether pinkeye is contagious depends upon what is causing the irritation. With pinkeye, people may experience swollen eyelids, a pinkish color in the whites of the eyes, eye discharge, photophobia, increased tear production, and itching.
Is Poison Ivy Contagious?
Poison ivy produces urushiol, an oily chemical that causes an itchy, painful reddish rash in people who come in contact with the plant. The rash lasts for one to three weeks. People should seek medical care for poison ivy exposure if the resulting rash covers a large portion of the body, if the rash develops on the genitalia or face, or if there is swelling around the eyes or of the throat.
Is Ringworm Contagious?
A fungus causes ringworm. Ringworm can be transmitted from person to person. Animals may also spread ringworm. Ringworm causes an itchy, ring-shaped red rash with hair loss. Treatment incorporates the use of topical medication.
Is Scabies Contagious?
The Sarcoptes scabiei mite causes scabies in humans. Close skin-to-skin contact can transmit scabies. The incubation period for scabies may be up to eight weeks. People with a scabies infestation will have a very itchy rash with burrows in the skin caused by the itch mite.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching including infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
A keloid is a scar that doesn't know when to stop. When the cells keep on reproducing, the result is an overgrown (hypertrophic) scar or a keloid. A keloid looks shiny and is often dome-shaped, ranging in color from slightly pink to red. It feels hard and thick and is always raised above the surrounding skin.
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Latex allergy is a condition where the body reacts to latex, a natural product derived from the rubber tree. The reaction can either be delayed and cause a skin rash or immediate, which can lead to anaphylaxis. Avoiding latex is the most effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells in which the growth and development of the blood cells are abnormal. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (the leukocytes) but in practice, it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia).
Lichen planus is a common skin disease that features small, itchy pink or purple spots on the arms or legs. The abnormal areas on the skin in lichen planus are typically flat-topped (hence the term planus), itchy, and frequently have a polygonal or angular shape.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Fragrances and preservatives in cosmetics may cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms include redness, itching, and swelling after the product comes in contact with the person's skin. Treatment typically involves the use of over-the-counter cortisone creams.
Morgellons disease is a rare condition causing delusions the sufferer has parasites under his or her skin. The disease has a skin, nerve and psychiatric symptoms. The cause remains unclear.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Early Warning Signs and Types
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be thought of as an immune-mediated inflammatory process involving different areas of the central nervous system (CNS) at various points in time. Early warning signs and symptoms of MS in children, teens, and adults are similar; however, children and teens with pediatric also may have seizures and a complete lack of energy. Adults with MS do not have these signs and symptoms. Other signs and symptoms of MS include inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis), changes in vision, Wiping or having tissues around the eye and moving the eye may be painful, and double vision. There are four types of MS, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and progressive relapsing MD (PRMS).
Onchocerciasis, or river blindness, is a parasitic disease that may cause blindness. It is transmitted by the bite of a female blackfly. Symptoms include skin depigmentation, vision loss, and itch. Ivermectin is used to treat the disease.
Oral Thrush in Children
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida. Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Oral thrush and yeast infections are treated orally or topically with an antifungal antibiotic called nystatin.
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer has been called a "silent" disease because early pancreatic cancer usually does not cause early symptoms. Typically, pancreatic cancer has metastasized (spread to adjacent organs, such as the liver) by the time most people receive a dignosis of pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs usually appear later in the course of the disease and include jaundice, back pain, nausea, weight loss, itching, and loss of appetite. Treatment depends upon the type of pancreatic cancer but may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.
Peanut allergies causes signs and symptoms that include hives, itching, redness, and a rash. Severe reactions may cause decreased blood pressure, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, nausea, and behavioral changes. Someone with a peanut allergy should have an EpiPen with them at all times.
Peripheral neuropathy is a problem with the functioning of the nerves outside of the spinal cord. Symptoms may include numbness, weakness, burning pain (especially at night), and loss of reflexes. Possible causes may include carpel tunnel syndrome, shingles, vitamin or nutritional deficiencies, and illnesses like diabetes, syphilis, AIDS, and kidney failure. Peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed with exams and tests. Treatment for the condition depends on the cause. Usually, the prognosis for peripheral neuropathy is good if the cause can be successfully treated or prevented.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes covering the whites of the eyes. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents.
Pityriasis rosea is a rash that begins with a large inflamed patch with well-defined scaly borders on the back, chest, or neck. In 1-2 weeks, the person will develop many smaller patches on his or her trunk, arms, and legs. Symptoms include mild itching and possible sore throat, fatigue, nausea, aching, and decreased appetite. Pityriasis rosea typically resolves on its own and symptoms and signs may be treated with topical steroid creams and oral antihistamines.
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac contain a substance called urushiol, which causes a rash on people who come in contact with them. Symptoms and signs include a red, swollen, itchy, blistering, bumpy rash. Treatment involves rinsing the exposed area with water, taking antihistamines and over-the-counter pain medications, using topical treatments such as calamine lotion, and applying cool compresses.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a painful complication of shingles. Symptoms include severe pain, itchy skin, and possible weakness or paralysis of the area. There is no treatment for postherpetic neuralgia that is effective for all patients.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted via the bite of an infected animal. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and weakness. Treatment involves a series of injections: rabies immune globulin and four rabies vaccines administered over 2 weeks.
Retinal detachment is the separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying eye tissue. Symptoms of retinal detachment include flashing lights and floaters. Highly nearsighted young adults and those who've had cataract surgery are at higher risk for retinal detachment.
The term "ringworm" refers to a fungal infection on the surface of the skin. A physical examination of the affected skin, evaluation of skin scrapings under the microscope, and culture tests can help doctors make the appropriate distinctions. A proper diagnosis is essential to successful treatment. The different types of ringworm include the following: tinea barbae, tinea capitis, tinea corporis, tinea cruris, tinea faciei, tinea manus, tinea pedis, and tinea unguium.
Ringworm vs. Eczema
While ringworm is a fungal infection, and eczema is a skin condition, both are characterized by itchiness. Eczema patches are leathery while ringworm involves ring formation on the skin. Over-the-counter antifungals treat ringworm. Topical creams and ointments treat eczema.
Scabies are itch mites that burrow under the skin and produce intense itching that's usually worse at night. Symptoms of scabies are small bumps and blisters on the wrists, knees, between the fingers, on the back of the elbows, in the groin and on the buttocks. Treatment involves applying a mite-killing cream, antihistamines for itch relief, washing bedclothes and linens.
Scalp Psoriasis (Psoriasis of the Scalp)
Scalp psoriasis causes red, raised, scaly patches that may extend from the scalp to the forehead and the back of the neck and ears. Symptoms and signs include itching, hair loss, flaking, silvery scales, and red plaques. Treatment includes topical medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps, medications, and light therapy.
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body, leading to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also referred to as systemic sclerosis, and the cause is unknown. Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual features that are most troubling to the patient.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition. Symptoms and signs include a red, scaling rash on the scalp, face, ears, and torso. Treatment often includes the use of a medicated shampoo and the application of a topical steroid lotion.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women include gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HPV infection (genital warts). Learn about types, symptoms, and treatment.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by some to a condition in which various symptoms reportedly appear after a person has been exposed to any of a wide range of chemicals. The exposure may occur as a major event, such as a chemical spill, or from long-term contact with low-levels of chemicals, such as in an office with poor ventilation. As a result of exposure, people with MCS (sick building syndrome) develop sensitivity and have reactions to the chemicals even at levels most people can tolerate.
Skin cancers occur when skin cells undergo malignant transformations and grow into tumors. The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are highly curable when they are diagnosed and treated early. Sun exposure, tanning beds, depressed immune system, radiation exposure, and certain viral infections are risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers are treated with surgery or radiation. The prognosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers is generally very good.
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
STDs in Men
Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men include painful urination, bumps or sores on the penis, and penile discharge and itching. Learn about the most common STDs in men.
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV rays also increases the risk of scarring, freckles, wrinkles, and dry skin. Symptoms of sunburn include painful, red, tender, and hot skin. The skin may blister, swell, and peel. Sun poisoning (severe sunburn) includes nausea, fever, chills, rapid pulse, dizziness, and more. Home remedies can help relieve sunburn pain, blisters, and peeling. Severe sunburns may need medical treatment. Sun protection and sunscreen for a person's skin type are recommended to decrease the chance of severe sunburn and sun poisoning.
Ticks (Tick Bites)
Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness. Infected ticks spread disease once they've bitten a host, allowing the pathogens in their saliva and mouth get into the host's skin and blood. Tick bites are typically painless, but the site of the bite may later itch, burn, turn red, and feel painful. Individuals allergic to tick bites may develop a rash, swelling, shortness of breath, numbness, or paralysis. Tick bite treatment involves cleaning and applying antibiotic cream.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal pain with urination, vaginal discharge, odor, and itching. Treatment is generally OTC medications. A man can contract a yeast infection from his female sexual partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in men include penile itching. Treatment is with oral or topical medication.
What Are the Symptoms of Pruritus Scroti?
Pruritus scroti (scrotal itching) may be caused by a variety of conditions, including jock itch, allergic reactions, and sexually transmitted infections. Treatment options may include corticosteroid creams and ointments, oral medications, and phototherapy.
What Is Genital Herpes in Women?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include painful blisters and often fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes for the first outbreak. Genital herpes is diagnosed with lab tests to test for the presence of the virus. Treatment for genital herpes includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the outbreak or reduce the risk of future outbreaks. There is no cure for genital herpes. Condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
What Is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is cancer of the lymphatic system, a vital part of the body's immune system. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, coughing, weakness, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, and abdominal pain.
Yeast infections vs. STDs in Men and Women
STDs, also termed sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are mainly transmitted to others during direct sexual contact. A yeast infection is the invasion and multiplication of a fungus (yeast) in or on the body.
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