why do I itch? HELP!
July 11, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

why do I itch? HELP! I started to itch on my hands and feet and it's not going away...


I know YANAD (you are not a Dr.) ...

A day or two ago, sitting at my cubicle at work, I took off my shoes and rested my feet on the carpeted floor, for maybe 1/2 hour (I was wearing socks). My feet started feeling tingly. Later that day the tingly feeling changed to itchy. I scratched my feet with my hands. But then the parts of my hands that came into contact with my feet began to itch too. As time went on, the intensity of the itchiness began to increase.

Washing my feet and hands helped a bit temporarily, but not much. So did gold bond medicated cream. I thought maybe I had some kind of weird inflammation so I took some painkillers. That too helped a bit.

Well, my hands and feet still ITCH like crazy. Leaving them alone helps (like the itchiness sort of dies down) but not completely.

Now all I can think of is:

-the carpet at work was shampooed the evening before. Could this be an allergic reaction to the chemicals?

-my feet rested under my desk, maybe the cleaning staff didn't clean under there and it was dusty, etc. and maybe this is some kind of allergic reaction to mould or dust (dust mites? or other bugs?)

Please let me know if you have any ideas.

If the itchiness still is with me in another day or two I may go to the Dr. But I'm doubting whether my family Dr. will even have a clue what to suggest, knowing my Dr. she'll probably say, 'oh well you itch, put some cream on your skin. NEXT...'.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If this happened to me, I'd take a dose of an antihistamine, like Benadryl -- I'd take the recommended dosage over two days. And/or put on some antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream and see what happens.
posted by barnone at 9:41 AM on July 11, 2009

Benadryl now comes in spray form, and is a good topical anti-itch remedy. Corn starch as powder helps, too.
posted by theora55 at 12:06 PM on July 11, 2009

I had a terrible itch. I went to the doctor, took antihistamines, topical steroid creams, moisturizers... nothing really helped. On a whim, I tried some IcyHot. It smells but did a good job of providing sufficient stimulation that I was able to suppress the urge to scratch. So if you get low on options you could try that.

As to why: I can't answer that. I was never able to get a solid answer on what caused my itchiness either.
posted by chairface at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2009

So, one time a number of years ago I had something similar happen. It wasn't tied to any event, but my palms started itching furiously and even peeling a little eventually. I tried hydrocortisone cream, which only made it worse. When I went to the doctor, she scraped a little of the peeling skin off and looked at it under the microscope. I had a fungal infection. No clue how I got it, especially since I didn't have athlete's foot or anything. So yeah. Fungal infection is what I had.
posted by Stewriffic at 1:27 PM on July 11, 2009

I had a weird foot itch once; I thought it was caused by walking barefoot on pollen-covered ground during allergy season (I get the usual respiratory stuff in spring). But it didn't go away, and it was AWFUL. I was scratching my soles with a metal-bristle hairbrush and seriously considering sandpaper. Finally I went to the dr., who said the pollen couldn't absorb through the skin. He gave me a cortisone shot that stopped the itchiness, but had no further ideas about what caused it. (He was a gp, not an allergist.) So visit your doctor and get a cortisone shot, that's my advice in a nutshell.
posted by scratch at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2009

I have this happen sometimes, but it's related to panic attacks, so totally psychosomatic. It's this intense itch that starts from the palms of my hands and feet and works its way thoughout my body usually, although sometimes it stays around my hands and feet, and it itches like crazy for any length of time between 15 minutes to a whole day.

Think about it this way: if it were something from the carpet, which spread to your feet and from them to your hands, it would have spread from your hands to whatever other body part you touched with them (face, etc). And since it didn't, I'm guessing psychosomatic. Are you under a lot of stress? This could seriously be the answer.

Whatever the problem is, putting ice on it helps.
posted by alon at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2009

I'm allergic to moss and algae. I get itchy feet if I walk around outside barefoot after it rains so what I do may or may not help you.

I wash my feet with antibacterial soap and leave it on for 3 minutes so it has time to kill everything itch causing (thanks, Dr. Oz and Oprah for that info). Afterward, if it still is bothering, I get out the anti-itch cream (has Benadryl, Walmart has a generic) which usually takes care of the problem.
posted by stray thoughts at 5:14 PM on July 11, 2009

I break out into hives if I come into contact with carpet that has had Carpet Fresh on it recently. So yes, it could be cleaning chemicals.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:19 PM on July 11, 2009

Depending on what the rash looks like, you may want to ask for a syphilis test when you see your doctor.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 2:55 AM on July 12, 2009

I rely on old-fashioned Calamine Lotion for my itches.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:02 AM on July 12, 2009

I just wanted to chime in and commiserate, I get that weird deep down uncomfortable itch on my palms and soles in the shower, doesn't matter what shampoo or soap I use, I think I am just allergic to something that is common in hygeine products. My mother and brother get that itch when taking certain antibiotics, just makes theirs hands and feet itchy. very weird, I hope some doctor chimes in eventually about what would make your palms and feet itch, but not the rest of you.

I run very cold water over them, pat them dry and don't touch them, that seems to help me ignore it till it fades away.
posted by stormygrey at 8:04 AM on July 13, 2009

As to the 'why', obviously an allergic reaction seems most likely. Are you maybe allergic to whatever products they use to clean the carpeting?
posted by softlord at 3:49 PM on August 2, 2009

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