What is itching all over?

Itching all over is an annoying sensation often caused by skin irritation or inflammation. Itching all over may be associated with a rash or other skin symptoms, or it may occur by itself.

Itching all over can be caused by a relatively mild condition, such as dry skin and a build-up of dead skin cells. For example, if you feel itchy all over and you live in a dry climate, you may have “winter itch” caused by the lack of moisture in your skin.

In some cases, itching all over can be due to a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that includes hives (raised welts) and anaphylaxis (tightening and closing of the airways). Itching all over can also result from infection, inflammation, insect bites, and diseases, such as celiac disease, liver disease, and some cancers.

Itching all over accompanied by difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth or face may be due to a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms.

Seek prompt medical care if you do not have symptoms of anaphylaxis but your itching is not improving or interferes with your daily life.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with itching all over?

Itching all over may occur by itself or with other symptoms. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, you may have flu-like symptoms if itching all over is caused by infection or inflammation. Anxiet... Read more about itching all oversymptoms

CAUSES

What causes itching all over?

Many different diseases, disorders and conditions can lead to mild to severe itching. Itching all over can be a sign of dry skin or irritation from clothing or detergent. Itching all over can also be caused by a viral infection, scabies, or an allergic reaction to a medication. In some cases, itching all over can be due to a life-threatening allergic reaction associated with difficulty breathin... Read more about itching all overcauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.