Lots of patients deal with itching after an accident or injury. For many patients, this is a welcome symptom. After all, isn’t itching a sign of healing? Other patients disagree, claiming that it’s a sign of symptoms getting worse. So what’s the truth? Is itching a sign of healing- or infection? Get the facts in the article below.
What Causes Itching?
Usually, itching is an inflammatory response. Inflammation happens when the body is attempting to fight off infection. When wounds heal, the body releases histamine, which is also released during allergic reactions. This chemical causes itching and redness due to the way it affects your nerves.
Is Itching a Sign of Healing or Infection?
So itching is normal when the skin is wounded. But is itching a sign of healing or infection? Generally speaking, it’s a sign of healing. Itchy skin usually develops as a part of the inflammatory process that helps the skin to heal. However, it’s important to also look at changes in your wound’s appearance. Wounds that look worse, do not heal, develop an odor, or develop a green/yellow pus might be infected.
Can I Scratch My Itchy Skin?
It’s very important not to scratch your itchy skin. This can irritate the skin’s surface and slow down the healing process. Itching wounds can also create small tears in the skin, which in turn create new wounds. This means that itching your skin can actually prolong your symptoms!
How to Manage Symptoms
Of course, we know that it’s tough to avoid scratching. Ask your doctor about creams or other topical treatments to help your skin feel better. They can also give you general information that can help make the healing journey more pleasant.
When to See a Doctor
If you have a wound, then it’s important to see a doctor regularly as it heals. Your doctor will not only check for signs of infection, but also help you manage unpleasant symptoms- like itchy skin. Sharaf Diwan, MD is an infectious disease expert in Houston. Call our office today to learn how we can help you with your wound care.