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What is the cause for itching all over the body?

Q: I am a 22yr old boy from Bangalore. From early this year, I am getting an itching sensation all over my body. I used to scratch my skin and it used to go off. Initially, it was not severe but by mid-year, it became unbearable and whenever I used to scratch, continuous rashes erupted (similar to a scar left on the skin after an operation). Once these rashes erupted, the itch used to vanish in that place. The rashes also used to die down in an hour or two at that place where I had scratched but used to erupt at some other place. One thing I noticed was that I was having this problem indoors. Whenever I used to got out in the sun, it used to reduce. I consulted my family doctor & he prescribed Airitis (levocetirizine dihydrochloride 5mg), which I took for nearly 2 months every morning. Whenever I took these tablets, I was free from this problem. But when I stopped taking this medicine, it used to reappear. Meanwhile, before taking this medicine, the doctor asked me to monitor my eating habits for 2 weeks, he wanted me to make a list of what all I ate during that week & also recollect, if there had been any change in my eating habits or what is used for cooking at home, since april. There was absolutely no change in my eating habits since april. Only then, did he prescribe Airitis. Since I didnt get any relief, I consulted a skin specialist in september. He gave me 20 tablets each of zyncet 5mg & famonite 40mg, which i had to take every morning after breakfast. After the course was over, within 2 days, my problem resurfaced & he asked me to continue the same medication for another 20 days, after which same problem reappeared. He then replaced zyncet with des loritidine for 20 days, & its anyones guess about what has happened after 20 days. Now not only is the problem of itching limited to indoors, even when I go out, I get absolutely no relief. I met the skin specialist yesterday & he replaced des loritidine with sizon forte. Both our family doctor (who also does the allergy testing) & the skin specialist are against going in for allergy testing as they say that it doesnt guarantee in identifying the allergen & thus help in finding a solution to my problem. I tried everytihng, right from vacuum cleaning my house to regularly washing all the bed clothing at 80- 90 degree centigrade in the washing machine to avoiding certain foods like cucumber, brinjal,whole grains like chana, moong, any many others, not eating outside also. I dont drink these softdrinks either. In fact ,earlier, before this allergy started also I rarely used to have pepsi, Mirinda ,...once in 2 months or so. Please suggest a solution to my problem as soon as possible. I know that the best solution is to avoid the allergen, but the biggest problem here is that I am unable to identify the allergen.

A:You are most likely suffering from urticaria. To be certain about your diagnosis, you need to get examined with a rash. There are numerous causes of urticaria, other than food and aeroallergens. It could be due to infection, infestation of gastrointestinal tract by worms, injectants including insect bites, ingestion of drugs or chemicals in preserved foods, part of systemic disorders, psychogenic causes etc. Sometimes, inspite of all investigations, cause may not be found. You need to undergo investigations to find the cause. Till that time you should use antihistamines like des loratidine; if not controlled table atarax 10 mg or 25 mg thrice daily or systemic prednisolone on the advise of a doctor. Intradermal tests for allergy are not very predictive of allergen involved.

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