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How can I prevent scratching when I have atopic dermatitis?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Many people with atopic dermatitis say that they are more likely to scratch their itchy skin when they're bored or have nothing to do. Keeping your hands active and busy can help you avoid scratching. Stay occupied by finding an engrossing hobby. Try knitting or squeezing a stress ball when you have idle time, such as in a waiting room. Be sure to discuss with your doctor treatment options that can help reduce the itch caused by atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis is accompanied by intense itching, and it can be difficult not to scratch at the affected areas. It's important to avoid doing so though, as scratching can lead to further irritation. Proper care of the skin can help reduce the itchiness. Another common practice involves making an effort to distract yourself. Try to stay active, occupying your mind with an activity or other thoughts. Hopefully, distractions can ease the desire to scratch. To avoid any unconscious scratching at night, try wearing soft gloves and keeping your fingernails short. If you continue to scratch at night, consider taking an antihistamine that promotes drowsiness before going to bed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.