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Effects upon: Itching

People report how unbearable the itchiness can be and there are various antihistamine treatments they have found to be effective to varying degrees. The sedating antihistamines (that make you feel sleepy) are more likely to work better and are more effective than the non-sedating antihistamines in achieving a reasonable, less itchy, night’s sleep.


Some examples of antihistamines that are available from the pharmacy are Cetirizine, Fexofenadine and Loratadine. These are non-drowsy. Chlorphenamine (Piriton) is also available at the pharmacist but may make you drowsy.

Hydroxyzine (Atarax) can also make you drowsy and is only available by prescription. There are other antihistamines available and some work better than others depending on the individual.

The NHS has a very good page on antihistamines.

Apart from antihistamines some people have found products that include menthol, such as Dermacool, helpful. Moisturisers that can be sprayed directly onto itchy skin rather than needing to be rubbed in like Emollin spray are also often found to help.


Another thing that is important in helping with the itching is staying cool. A fan to cool the skin can be very soothing, as are cool pads e.g. Gel Ice Packs that can be strapped on and moved around for particularly itchy areas and put in the freezer to re-cool.

Alternatively, to relieve itching at night, there are mattress toppers filled with a gel that cools you down as soon as it comes into contact with your body. Lifemax is one company that do these.

A double bed with a gel-filled mattress topper on top of the bedding.

For further reading and advice the British Association of Dermatologists has a very good document on Pruritus (itching).

Below is a table of some of the products that have been recommended by members:







Dead Sea bath salts


Emollin spray

Eurax cream

Lifemax cool pad

PEM Friends does not endorse any of the items shown above. These items have been suggested by individual members because they have found them useful.

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