My boss today told me that she was very itchy because she has some poison ivy. I told her what my doctor had told me once: that itching was the lowest form of pain, and she should take one acetaminophen (Tylenol) or one ibuprofen. It’d curb the itching, and save the pain of scabs later on. I thought this little bit of wisdom was a gem: it has always worked for me. I figured it’d be something interesting to blog about, until I did some research to prove it was true and allow my blog readers to decide for themselves. And I discovered it isn’t true-it’s not a form of pain at all! But, what I found is worth sharing.

I quote, from the article: “But how, exactly, itch works has been a puzzle. For most of medical history, scientists thought that itching was merely a weak form of pain. Then, in 1987, the German researcher H. O. Handwerker and his colleagues used mild electric pulses to drive histamine, an itch-producing substance that the body releases during allergic reactions, into the skin of volunteers. As the researchers increased the dose of histamine, they found that they were able to increase the intensity of itch the volunteers reported, from the barely appreciable to the “maximum imaginable.” Yet the volunteers never felt an increase in pain. The scientists concluded that itch and pain are entirely separate sensations, transmitted along different pathways.”

Here is a link. Who knew!

The Itch, by Atul Gawande


About sorellaaglio

I am 26. I love nature. I love trying new things, and I love children. I love cooking, baking, and sometimes even cleaning. I am an organized mess, and yet manage to eat three meals a day and get eight hours of sleep a night. If you stop by, I'll feed you and make you a mixed CD. Oh, and I am a fan of you.
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