Pruritus - Definition

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Pruritus is the medical term for itchy skin, which leads to scratching. This is one of the most frequent complaints at a dermatological consultation, and can be linked to a large number of possible causes. These include various skin diseases, such as eczema, hives, psoriasis, infectious diseases due to mycosis, viruses such as chickenpox, or bacteria, allergies, or medication. Pruritus can also be a symptom of more general diseases such as some types of liver disease. Treatment is directed at the cause, if it has been identified. In the absence of an identified underlying cause, antihistamine medication can sometimes relieve the itchiness.