are many causes of body itch, such as allergy and insects. Even when insects
aren't seen directly,
many people blame insects for the problem. Before you blame bedbugs or
some other cause for itch, it's important to understand all of the
possibilities which include insects, medications, allergy and
contaminants in the environment such as cleaning products, fibers in
the air, dry air and plants. Insect based reactions occur when an
insect injects salivary fluid into a bite.
causes of body itch
Everyone feels a skin itch now and then. There are
many causes of body itch including:
- bed bug itch
- mosquito itch
- flea itch
- lice itch
- mites itch (scabies itch)
- chiggers itch
- Personal products such as soaps and creams
- Elements in the environment such as pollution, chemicals and plants
- Itch from paper, carpet and insulation fibers<;li>
- Dry air itch and fume itch
- Poison ivy itch, poison oak itch, poison sumac itch
- age, sun and excessive bathing
Common Biting Insects - (a) flea, (b) louse, (c) bird mite, (d) chigger, (e) scabies mite
There are several kinds of insects that can cause skin itch.
These include fleas, lice, bird mites, chiggers, scabies
mites and bedbugs. These insects cause itch, but are so small that they sometimes
aren't suspected as being the cause.
The most common source of skin insect bites are fleas. They
can be seen with the naked eye. They have a red/brown appearance and
1/8" in length. They will jump when disturbed. Fleas
can get into the home from a dog or cat, or from vermin such as mice
Fleas tend to bite humans in the ankle area. Bites
result in small raised areas or welts, that are slightly raised.
Skin itch is intense. Bites are small and red.
People that are highly sensitized can get a severe
skin reactions are often delayed by 5 to 30 minutes after being bitten.
In individuals that are highly sensitive to the bites, skin
reactions that are noticeable could result after 12 to 24 hours.
Children often see hives on their legs (called urticaria).
To rid a home of fleas, it needs to be thoroughly vacuumed, and then
gone over with a disinfectant formulated to kill parasites such as Benzarid.
Flea Bites on Legs
Lice cause an intense skin itch and irritated skin. The lice inhabit the
hair and other areas of the body with hair. They can be seen up close
with the first sign of a problem being the eggs that are found at the
base of hair follicles.
The insects are gray/white in color. They are usually not noticed when
an infestation first occurs, but scalp itch and skin lesions will
eventually become noticeable. Itching can lead to infection.
Head lice are acquired from other infested individuals. Lice can only
live on humans, so unlike fleas, it is not necessary to
clean the home as well as treat the lice.
Treatment for head lice involves the use of a kit that contains products to kill any lice that are in the hair followed by the use of a lice repellent to keep lice away.
Mites usually get into the home via birds nests (called bird
mites). or from a rats nest. They will appear like small tiny specks in
motion. There are mites that cannot be seen such as a kind of mite the
burrows into the skin, which are called scabies mites. They tend to
burrow near the shoulder blades, at the bend of the knee or elbow or
between each finger. They can also cause irritation and itch at the
wrist, armpit, penis, nipple, waist and buttocks, Mites can
live for 1 to 2 months on a person. They can only live 48 to
72 hours when off a person.
A scabies diagnosis is made on the basis of the appearance of
the rash and if their are obvious mite burrows under the skin.
If you can, the scabies diagnosis should be confirmed by
identifying an actual mite, mite eggs or scybala (feces). A Doctor will
examine a skin scraping under a microscope by using a needle tip to
look for the required mites, mite eggs or feces. Not being
able to find a mite, does not mean that there is a mite infestation, as
there could be as few as 10 to 15 mites.
Skin irritation caused by mites will look like a rash. Treatment
consists of using an over the counter topical such as Naturasil for Scabies.
Scabies Picture. Note the appearance of a burrowed mite under the skin as one of the causes of body itch
(also called Harvest Mites): These insects cannot be seen with the
naked eye. Chiggers will move along a persons clothes and then bite
through the clothing when it is pulled tight to the skin. They will
bite areas where clothes constrict against the skin. This includes
areas such as the ankles, behind the knee and at the waist.
Chigger skin reactions are hard red welts. Intense itch sets
in, in 1 to 2 days, so often, the skin reaction and itch is not
connected to being outdoors 1 to 2 days earlier.
bug skin reactions vary with most people showing no reaction
all. This is why two people in the same bed can show different bed bug
bite symptoms. Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye.
Bed bug bites can be individual or in groups. If bites are in
a straight line, it could be because an arm or leg may have been
leaning against a mattress seam that was hiding bed bugs. Bite
reactions vary from small round raised bumps with clear centers to
round larger wheals. Highly allergic individuals could develop blister
Bed bug itch relief is possible from regular itch creams sold in a
pharmacy such as Aveeno,
or you can buy product made specifically for bed bug itch such as Itch and Bite Relief.
Protecting yourself from bed bugs during sleep is difficult as
there are no known repellents that can be applied to the skin.
The best bet is to inspect all mattresses for signs of bed
bugs such as live insects or fecal remains (small brown spots near
seams). When traveling, treating a mattress and luggage with a BedBug
Travel Spray such as JTEaton
can provide some level of protection.
Picture of Bed Bug Bites on Arm
Photo of Bed Bug Bite
Example of Mosquito Bites on Lower Legs
Mosquito bite reactions vary between
individuals, with some people being more allergic than others. The
majority of people will show a small skin reaction that includes skin
swelling, red areas and irritated skin. This is one of the
common causes of body itch.
Bites usually appear in random areas or patterns and appear on
exposed areas of skin.
Picture of Mosquito Bites on Back
According to the American
Mosquito Control Association,
DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is the standard method
repelling mosquitoes. It was developed by the USDA and is
effective against mosquitoes, biting flies, chiggers, fleas, and ticks.
No other repellents have shown the duration of protection and
broad-spectrum effectiveness of DEET. Recent products such
picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are close in
to DEET. In terms of protecting children, the American Academy of
Pediatrics says that all family members over the age of two months of
age can use DEET-based repellents with up to 30% concentration with
Mosquito itch can be helped by an over the counter insect itch
remedy such as
household items that cause skin itch
Any product that goes against the skin can potentially cause
itch. The skin reaction can look just like a skin reaction
caused by an insect. Products that cause skin itch problems include:
- Cleaning fluids (ammonia)
- Haircare Products
- Printer Ink
- Medications you are taking
If no insects are present, and two people that live in the
have red or irritated skin, then the cause is probably something in the
environment such as the air.
Skin Itch Can Be Caused By Carpet and Insulation Fibers
given off from papers, fabrics, insulation etc, are attracted to the
skin by static electricity. The combination of these fibers
static electricity create a sensation like an insect moving on the
Fabrics and Insulation: Skin irritants includes fibers from fabric and
from insulation. These fibers sometimes create a sensation similar to
an insect crawling on the skin. if this is the cause, itch will be all
over the body, particularly on exposed areas of skin such as the arms,
legs, head and neck.
Paper: Paper causes irritation primarily in an
office environment where large amounts of paper are used or processed
such as paper that is fed through a computer or where paper is
constantly cut, ripped or torn such was with forms.
Carpets: Worn carpets can also give off fibers which cause irritation
when coming in contact with the skin.
Heating and Air Conditioning: If
a heating or air conditioning system recently had work, insulation used
around pipes and vents could also give off fibers which cause skin
irritation and itch.
When the air is dry, the skin has reduced levels of moisture.
This results in a condition called "winter itch.."
is more sensitive, a problem that can be easily corrected with a
in the Air:
Offices have a problem with air pollution. Chemicals in the air can
cause skin itch as well as headaches and other forms of irritation in
the eyes and throat. Causes include cleaning products, fumes from floor
coverings, paints, and adhesives.
Plants such as poison ivy,
oak and sumac can cause an itchy skin rash.
The rash appears hours after being exposed to the plant or
can appear in several days. You either had to come into contact with
the plant or an object that came in contact with plant sap,
such as camping gear, in order to be exposed. Urushiol oil is the
compound that is the cause of body itch.
Treating this skin itch starts with cleaning the affected area
with an anti-bacterial soap to remove any oil. This goes for
any clothes as well. Beyond skin itch, symptoms include redness,
inflammation, skin tenderness, localized swelling, and skin areas which
are warm to the touch. A skin lesion might also form as well
as papules (look like pimples) and blisters. These might ooze
Poison Ivy is found east of the Rocky Mountains.
Poison Oak is found west of the Rockies. sumac is found in
wetter areas in the Southeast.
Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak treatment can be accomplished at
home with over the counter products such as Hylands or Poison Ivy,
Oak and Sumac. This product in particular contains
alpha-terpinene-4-ol, and cineol,(compounds found in the plant extracts
cymbopogon citratus, avendula augustifolia, melaleuca alternifolia),
and additional key analgesic plant extracts. These extracts are
medically proven to be highly effective at soothing and quickly drying
out the outbreak.
Read on here more information on poison
health conditions and age
According to WebMD, Dry air, bathing, sun
exposure and aging can all result in a loss of natural skin oils. This
result sin dry skin which causes it to itch. This can be
prevented with the use of moisturizing lotion, sunscreen and gentle
soaps such as Cetaphil.
Skin itch Treatment
To stop causes of body itch from fabrics, try and
avoid clothes made out of wool or acrylics.
causes of body itch for any reason such as insect
fabric or other skin problems, the following products could provide
itch relief including:
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What Other Handbook Visitors Have Said About Body Itch
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Help Is The Itch On My Arms Bed Bugs Not rated yet
Reader Question: I have severe itching on both my arms mainly at night. Can feel like a pin prick bite followed by intense itching. Also happens during …
Skin Itches and I am the Only One Affected Not rated yet
Reader Question: It starts out as bites on the fore arms, which in turn itches, to the point that I am afraid that I will draw blood. The itch sensation …
Bed Bug Testimonial Not rated yet
I stayed at a hotel and woke around 3 am feeling like my body was on fire and itching. So, I went back to bed thinking the Benadryl would help. I woke …
Carpet Beetles, not Bed Bugs Not rated yet
I don't have bedbugs..I belive it is carpet beetles as I can feel static all the time, and when I wipe floor its black bugs sometimes with other colours. …
What Is This Bite From? Not rated yet
My boyfriend is a truck driver and was sleeping in his truck last night like always and woke up with 2 bites on the back of each thigh up near the crease …
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Each of these free brochures provide additional information on treating skin and body itch.
Scabies skin itch and itch relief.
Written by: City of San Diego
Available in a free
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