Pruritus – also known as itchy skin – is an irritating condition that makes a child want to scratch their skin.
What is Pediatric Pruritus?
Pruritus is a nagging, uncomfortable feeling that makes a child want to scratch their skin. Depending on the cause of the itchiness, the skin may appear normal – or it may be red, rough or have bumps. When a child repeatedly scratches their itchy skin, the skin may become thickened, raised or infected, or bleed.
Oftentimes, the more itchy the skin is, the more a child scratches it. And the more irritated skin is scratched, the itchier it continues to get. Therefore, the itch-scratch cycle can be difficult to break – especially in young children who don’t understand or can’t control their scratching.
What are the causes of Pediatric Pruritus?
The causes of pruritus are varied, and can include:
- Allergic reactions to a range of substances, including wool, soaps, poison ivy, cosmetics or certain foods
- Chicken pox
- Dry skin (xerosis)
- Hives (skin rash caused by a reaction to certain foods, medicine or other irritants)
- Kidney failure
- Leukemia (cancer that affects the blood cells)
- Liver disease
- Lymphoma (cancer that affects the lymph nodes and vessels that carry lymph fluid throughout the body)
- Multiple sclerosis (disorder in which the immune system breaks down the protective covering of the nerves)
- Psoriasis (skin condition that causes the buildup of excess cells on the surface of the skin)
- Reactions to some drugs, such as antibiotics, antifungal medicines or narcotic pain medications
- Scabies (highly contagious skin condition caused by a tiny insect)
- Shingles (painful skin condition that causes blisters)
- Thyroid cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
How is Pediatric Pruritus treated?
Dry, itchy skin can occur in any area of the body. Signs and symptoms of pruritus can include:
- Bumps, spots or blisters on the skin
- Dry, cracked skin
- Skin that is leathery or scaly in texture