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Cause of Severely Itchy Skin All Over Body

Cause of Severely Itchy Skin All Over Body Cause of Severely Itchy Skin All Over Body


Although itchy skin is not typically dangerous, it can be a sign of an underlying problem. Several skin disorders, diseases and external factors can cause severe itching all over your body. There are potential remedies.

Triggering Conditions

Chickenpox, hives, dry skin and exposure to poison oak or poison ivy are common causes of severely itchy skin. Chickenpox is a disease that causes small, red, extremely itchy blisters to form all over your body. Hives is a skin condition in which raised welts develop due to skin inflammation triggered by an allergen or irritant such as histamine. These welts can form anywhere on your body and generally cause skin to itch, sting and burn severely. Because skin that lacks moisture can become irritated, dry skin sufferers can also experience severely itchy skin. Poison oak and poison ivy are plants that cause extremely itchy face and body rashes when skin comes into contact with the plants' natural oils.

Diagnosing Severe Itching

Your doctor or dermatologist may begin the diagnostic process by observing your skin's appearance. The presence of blisters on your skin can indicate chickenpox; raised welts may suggest hives. If your skin itches but has no visible marks, you may just have dry skin. Your doctor or dermatologist may also ask about your recent outdoor activities to determine whether you have come into contact with poison oak or poison ivy.

Risk Factors

Because chickenpox is most common in children, working in a school or daycare environment puts you at a higher risk for being exposed to chickenpox. If you spend a lot of time hiking or camping, there is a greater risk that you may come into contact with poison oak or poison ivy. Overexposure to cold weather and excessive bathing increases your risk of developing dry skin.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the varicella vaccine can help prevent you from contracting the virus that causes chickenpox. If you suffer from hives, ask your doctor or dermatologist to perform an allergy test to identify the specific irritant you are coming in contact with so that you can avoid it. Avoid bathing too frequently to help prevent dry skin. Applying a moisturizing lotion to your skin regularly helps keep your skin hydrated. Become familiar with the appearance of poison oak and poison ivy so you can stay clear of the plants while on camping and hiking trips.


Severe itching can be effectively relieved with over-the-counter topical creams such as calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream. Medications that block histamine, such as diphenhydramine and cetirizine, can help ease itchy caused by hives. Taking baths in cool water rather than hot water and placing wet dressings on affected areas of your body can help bring you some relief from dry skin.

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