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Pruritus (PDQ®)

Patient Version
Last Modified: 02/05/2014

Assessment of Pruritus



Finding the cause of the itching is the first step in relieving pruritus.

Since pruritus is a symptom of a disease or condition, finding and treating the cause is the first step in bringing you relief.

A physical exam and a blood test are done to assess pruritus.

The following tests and procedures may be done to find the problem that is causing the itching:

  • Physical exam and history : An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. The doctor will check your skin for the following:
    • Signs of infection.
    • Signs of a drug reaction.
    • Redness, dryness, scratches, or lesions.
    • Swelling or stiffness.
    • Abnormal color, texture, or temperature.

    A history of your health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken, including the following information:

    • When the pruritus started, how long it lasts, how bad it is, and where on your body it's felt.
    • Whether you have had pruritus before.
    • What relieves the itching or makes it worse.
    • Diseases you have now or had in the past.
    • Treatments you are receiving and have received in the past.
    • Pain medicines, antibiotics, or other drugs you are taking.
    • Whether your diet is healthy and you drink enough fluids.
    • How you care for your skin.

  • Complete blood count (CBC) : A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following: