Pruritus is an unpleasant sensation that evokes the desire to scratch. It is commonly called itching. Itching may be confined to a certain area, or can be all over, i.e. generalised. In spite of being a very common complaint, itching remains poorly studied.
The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emeralds, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. - Bible quotes
Itching could be due to a primary disease of the skin; a lesion in the central nervous system; or a systemic disease like renal failure or liver disease. An itch that is localized to an area of skin is usually not caused by a systemic disease.
Generalised pruritus always requires a thorough evaluation. The underlying systemic cause may require immediate treatment. Hence it is always advisable that you consult a doctor for appropriate evaluation and treatment.Keeping the skin protected can prevent pruritus to an extent:
Use skin creams, lotions to keep the skin moistened and prevent dryness
Use sun screens to prevent skin burns
Use mild bath soaps that wont irate the skin
Change the fabrics that cause itch. For example, synthetic materials, wool cause pruritus in some individuals.
The underlying cause of pruritus should be treated. Non specific treatments include the use of moisturisers, topical steroids and antihistamines.