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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Itching in palliative care

Pruritus is the medical term for itchy skin, which can be unpleasant and annoying.

When there is no other obvious cause like a rash, itching is usually a result of dry skin. This is especially so in older people.

It's important to identify any underlying cause, such as another medical condition so it can be treated properly. Visit your doctor, who will investigate what is causing your itch and prescribe an appropriate treatment.

Causes of itching

Several things could be causing your itch. They include:

Treating itching

The main aim when treating your itch is to identify and remove or treat the cause. But sometimes this is not possible.

There are some other things that might help.

Your doctor might also prescribe you medication to help reduce the itch, such as an antihistamine.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury DHB and community palliative care specialists. Last reviewed November 2020.


Page reference: 350388

Review key: HIPAL-17434