Severe itching due to allergies can sometimes be remedied right at home, especially when it comes to allergic dermatitis. Also referred to as contact dermatitis, this type of allergy is a result of skin exposure to an allergen, which results in inflammation of the skin. As the skin becomes inflamed, you suffer from severe itching that may also be accompanied by a rash, hives or even blistering. With a combination of self-care methods and over-the-counter medications, you can treat this allergic reaction and relieve the itching sensation of your skin.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most important step in relieving a severe itch due to allergies is to identify the allergen. By identifying what's causing the allergic response, you can avoid the substance in the future or remove it from the home or workplace, and thereby prevent repeated allergic reactions. If you're unable to identify the allergen on your own, contact your doctor. A medical professional can administer what's known as a patch test to help determine what you're allergic to.
To relieve the itching sensation, the National Institutes of Health suggests rinsing the skin with cool water. Dousing the skin with water can help to remove an allergen causing an allergic response as a result of skin exposure. You should also consider removing and washing any clothing at the time of the reaction, as the material could trap the substance within the fiber and continue to expose it to your skin.
Once the allergen is removed from the skin, localized itching can often be relieved with a cold compress. Simply wet a washcloth or towel in cold water and gently cover the area of the skin, advises the Mayo Clinic. Not only does this soothe the inflammation and subsequent itching, but it also helps prevent you from scratching the itch, which can serve to intensify the sensation. If the itching is widespread, soaking in a tub of cool water can also bring about relief. Dress in loose, breathable clothing, such as cotton, to avoid exacerbating the itch.
If you're still suffering from a severe itch, an anti-itch cream may be necessary. Calamine and hydrocortisone are both topical medications that can help relieve itching. Using a cotton ball, apply a thin layer of the medication over affected areas of the skin. You may also want to take an over-the-counter antihistamine while itching remains severe.
With severe allergic reactions, an oral corticosteroid is sometimes recommended to reduce inflammation and relieve itching, notes the Mayo Clinic. Talk to your doctor for a prescription.