Pruritus refers to the sensation of itching on the skin. It can be caused by a wide range of skin conditions, including dry skin, infection, fungus, other skin diseases and, rarely, cancer. While anyone can experience pruritus, it is more commonly seen among the elderly, diabetics, people with suppressed immune systems, and those with seasonal allergies, like hay fever or eczema. Additionally, there is a type of pruritus, called PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules & Plaques of Pregnancy) that affects pregnant women.
Treatment for pruritus depends on identifying the underlying cause. Your dermatologist will examine the itchy area and may make a small scrape on any rash to collect tissue for diagnostic testing. Typical treatment involves topical and/or oral steroids and antihistamines to help relieve the itch. To avoid pruritus, make sure to follow healthy skin care procedures.