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Stimulation of nerve endings in the skin, usually incited by histamine, that evokes a desire to scratch. It is often transient and easily relieved. Pathological itching with skin changes usually signals dermatologic disease. Generalized itching without skin changes can occur in systemic diseases (e.g., metabolic and endocrine conditions, cancer, drug reactions, and kidney, blood, and liver diseases). Dry skin often itches. Treatment depends on cause.
Variants of ITCHING
itching or pruritus
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on itching, visit Britannica.com.