Now that we’ve established that itching is quite common, let’s talk about acute and chronic itch.
Acute itch is any type of itch that lasts less than six weeks. It frequently can be the result of environmental factors, such as a bug bite or an allergic reaction. Again, most people at some time have experienced a form of acute itch.
Itch lasting longer than six weeks is defined as chronic itch. Dermatologists consider chronic itch notoriously difficult to treat – the mechanism that occurs in your skin to actually cause the itch is not widely understood, so there is no general treatment “path” that doctors can follow. What works for one person might not work for the next, so dermatologists typically will devise an individualized approach.
While doctors find it difficult to treat chronic itch, if you’re the itch-ee, you may find it difficult to live with. A recent study shows that chronic itch can affect your life the way that chronic pain does. Imagine being so itchy you can’t go about your daily life?
There are many ways to treat itch – with over-the-counter creams, a prescription from your doc, and home remedies like cold compresses.