Treat Chronic Itch
Originally Posted in the Natural Solutions Magazine
Chronic itch is a legitimate—and increasingly serious—health concern. Various studies and news accounts underscore this fact, attributing the condition to a multitude of sources, from depression and reaction to localized pain to complications associated with diabetes, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and several other illnesses. Awareness of this problem is the first step toward treating this malady. For people suffering from this condition, an open discussion about the potential causes of chronic itch—as well as the alternative remedies to alleviate this matter—must be a top priority. Merry Richon, an entrepreneur and the founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, an all-natural and homeopathic means of alleviating itching sensations, addresses some of the most common questions about the prevalence of chronic itch, the forces that worsen this condition, and how alternative medicine can be at the forefront of lessening the worst aspects of the condition.
Why is chronic itch such a serious health condition that requires treatment?
It is more than a nuisance or a distraction, like some sort of tic that compels an individual to periodically scratch the source of irritation. If anything, we have only scratched the surface, so to speak, of a much larger issue, which strikes tens of millions of Americans each year. There is no single cause of this problem; the variables—from chronic, incurable medical conditions and seasonal allergies to adverse reactions to prescription medications and undiagnosed forms of dermatitis—are so diverse, differing in intensity and the frequency by which they occur.
In my case, which is responsible for my attempt to alleviate or end the itching sensation people endure, I am sensitive to mosquito bites and the after-effects that these pests cause. As a resident of Washington, DC, and as someone who has “survived” multiple summers in this literal swampland, I have the bumps, welts, and reddened marks that come from scratching my skin—in response to bug bites in general and mosquito bites in particular.
Mine is a temporary (albeit uncomfortable) rite of passage that corresponds with an increase in temperature and humidity during those fetid months in the District. But, in the course of doing my own research and analyzing information from credible health sites and public reports, I now believe itch can be—indeed, it already is—a debilitating threat to men, women, children, and seniors.
The problem intensifies among patients suffering from eczema, psoriasis, and diabetes, among a long catalog of illnesses. Concerning the first two, itch is an inseparable part of these respective disorders; they almost define these conditions, minus additional complications such as arthritic pain and infection. With approximately 30 million Americans affected by eczema and 7.5 million with psoriasis, itch is a significant challenge for at least 10 to 20 percent of the population.
These facts demand a response; they are an urgent call to action because of the size and scope of this problem.
What is your opinion of existing treatments, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), for chronic itch?
I am neither exclusively in favor of one treatment nor am I universally opposed to a separate set of potential remedies. With regard to my circumstances, and in my role as founder and CEO of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, I offer an all-natural way to potentially relieve or end the itching sensation induced by pests, pets, allergies, stress, and chronic medical conditions.
My product is the result of a personal quest to create something that did not previously exist (or did not exist in the same way, with the same ingredients, as I needed), so I now have a remedy I can use safely and regularly. The unsolicited testimonials I receive from consumers, including those battling eczema and psoriasis, continue to be unanimous in their praise of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®.
Does this, therefore, mean I oppose consulting a doctor and taking a prescription medication for either one of those conditions, never mind the many other maladies associated with intense itching? In a word: No.
Let me further clarify my position, so there is not even the slightest ambiguity about what I believe concerning this issue. I believe it is essential for a patient with a serious illness to be under the care of, or to seek treatment from, a medical doctor who is an expert regarding the specific condition involving that person. I also believe that it is a crime against science—and I offer this statement as the spouse of a scientist (a chemist)—to let politics or propaganda trump evidence. Which is to say, where prescription medications have a demonstrable record of success in alleviating itch, and if patients understand the side effects of a given treatment, I would never discourage a person from undergoing a protocol that works.
At the same time, do I believe there are all-natural alternatives to certain prescription drugs which reduce itch or inflammation relating to insect bites, dry skin, allergies, or exposure to poison ivy? Absolutely!
Where expectations exceed reality—and this rule applies to every available treatment—is the belief that a treatment is a cure. That assumption belies the very description of eczema and psoriasis as chronic conditions. A cure, on the other hand, is just that: a cure. It permanently stops, reverses, or prevents a person from contracting or developing a certain illness. Thus, I support the best treatment for each individual, based on each person’s medical history, personal requirements, and practical goals.
Why is chronic itch a year-round condition, as opposed to a seasonal affliction?
The short answer is: Science tells us that itch does not leave with the same abruptness with which it arrives. There are seasonal afflictions—I may as well be the unofficial spokeswoman on this subject—but dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis do not vanish with the changing of the calendar. In their own way, some people may have more acute flare-ups at one time of the year vs. another. Each case, as well as each respective subcategory of each disease, is different. I carry a tube of Kiss My Itch Goodbye with me at all times for this same reason: Changes in temperature or humidity, in addition to changes in location during a business trip or vacation, can impact whether I have a mild or severe bout of itch—which is why I plan ahead.
What illnesses have a strong correlation to chronic itching or dry skin?
At the risk of repeating myself, as I will never forsake a chance to inform readers about the significance of (and the urgency of increased research and funding for) conditions like eczema and psoriasis; these illnesses strike too many people for us to ignore this issue. On a more benign level, pet allergies—and chronic itch among pets (dogs in particular)—are a substantial challenge for millions of individuals, pet owners included. Other conditions, including rashes, fungal infections, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, shingles, pinched nerves, anemia, diabetes, thyroid problems, food and chemical allergies, and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, represent a collection of both minor and major afflictions.
How can patients with these symptoms lessen or eliminate itch?
My philosophy is simple: An educated patient is an empowered patient. That is, people need to have all the relevant facts at their disposal so they can make an informed decision about which treatment to pursue. I would be remiss if I did not mention that, in being true to my own beliefs and following my own advice, I use Kiss My Itch Goodbye as my first means of defense against the predictable (in my case) onset of intense itching. Or, to conflate a maxim from literature with the demands of contemporary medicine, I say: “To thine own self be true.”
Provided one is not a latter-day Polonius in a white medical coat, the words transcend Shakespeare’s tragedy. Translation: You know yourself better than some itinerant doctor or overworked nurse at an urgent care facility, with regard to your personality. Consult your conscience and coordinate with your physician when reviewing all the treatment options available to you.
Based on your experience, what steps should all people take involving ways to treat severe itch?
Be a consumer of information. There are plenty of online resources which offer comprehensive details about chronic itch, along with comments and additional suggestions from people suffering from this condition. Remember, too, that the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It gives us a seemingly infinite amount of information about almost everything, while simultaneously advancing our most extreme fears and catastrophic forms of anxiety. Thus, before we diagnose ourselves with every kind of rare terminal illness, and as a preventive measure against manifesting our worst obsessions by way of our most (emotionally) painful compulsions, I have a word of advice: Stop!
Do not descend into the wormhole of Wikipedia, when all you need is basic material. Do not become a prisoner of Google, when all you want are the words of a few esteemed physicians. Do not indulge the itch of hypochondria, when all you require is itch relief.