Chronic itching is a common problem faced globally by all the people recovering from major burns. This could be a huge hindrance for people carrying on with their daily routine activities. Rehabilitation specialists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have assembled certain guidelines for such people.
These specialists analyzed various studies and treatments in order to assemble these guidelines. They state that burn scar tissue do not consist of the oil glands that are found in normal skin, thus they are chronically dry. Their lack of hydration or lubrication results in itching.
Dr. Vincent Gabriel, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, University of Texas Southwestern, says that, “When you’re not itchy, itching seems minor. But when you’re itchy, you constantly think about it. It disturbs the patients’ sleep. At times, they compromise wound healing by scratching. In an extreme case I can recall, one patient would get up at night and rub his back up against door frames and even a tree to get relief.”
Post-burn itching was estimated to affect around 87 percent of all the patients. Itching usually starts taking place in the initial two weeks after a burn injury. It is stated that itching sensation around the wound is believed to be worse than on the wound itself.
These specialists ranked the effectiveness of various typical treatments starting with topical creams and ointments, moving on to oral antihistamines and non-medicinal treatments like lasers and massage. These treatments were ranked through a method known as the Physiotherapy Evidence Database score. The treatments which these specialists ranked as “good” were cimetidine, a prescription antihistamine pill; colloidal oatmeal bath as a topical treatment; and pulsed dye laser therapy as a non-medicinal treatment.
They state that their suggestions and guidelines combined both, the available resources and their expertise and clinical experience in this area.
These findings appear in the Journal of Burn Care and Research.