We discovered this technique in the book Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment* and have been using it ever since we wrote it up in the first edition of "The People's Pharmacy®."

Moderate itching (the sort of thing you get from a mosquito bite or mild case of poison ivy without blisters) often responds to a hot water application. The water needs to be hot enough to be slightly uncomfortable but not so hot that it burns (120-130 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you let the hot water tap run for a few minutes this should be about right. A few seconds' exposure is all you need to produce several hours of relief.

*Sulzberger, M. B., et al. Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment. Chicago: Yearbook, 1961; p. 94

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  1. Ron
    Sydney
    Reply

    I have suffered from eczema for most of my 64 years. Yes hot water works to relieve the itch. Not so hot to scald but just hot enough to hurt. I have 2 showers a day training water onto itchy areas. I think the heat helps the skin to stay a little moist also use creams after shower to assist with this. Hot and cold compress can be used for isolated areas. It’s true the relief is pleasurable and allows some 6 hours relief. It’s only we who suffer that understand how terrible this complaint is. If you can bathe in sea salt water on a regular basis and can put up with stinging from open wounds this also is of great help.

  2. JT
    Reply

    I’ve always used the hot water treatment for poison ivy. Several years ago, I had the job of cutting about 20 acres of weeds on a tractor, and ended up getting poison ivy that covered most of my body. The itching was unbearable, but as soon as I got home, I would fill up the bath tub with water as hot as I could stand, and submerge myself into the water. The pleasurable sensations were overpowering. Better than an orgasm. Mind ripping pleasure over my entire body. It almost makes me want to go out and roll in a patch right now.

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