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Hot Water for Itches

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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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I have found that hot water provides immediate relief for mosquito bites. In addition, it provides temporary relief from itching caused by poison ivy.

I bought the first book you wrote (Joe) and found the hot water treatment for moderate itching quite satisfactory. Once when my husband had an itch he couldn't get wet, he used a hair dryer with the same effect. Of course the same advice about how hot and how long still apply.

I get poison ivy at least twice a year when I am careless while weeding. I always use the hot water treatment and can expect itch relief to last for several hours.

I read this, I need to add that my daughter had a very bad case of hives she itched so bad. I put her in the bath along with a oatmeal bath. About five minutes later she yelled for me. Her hives had doubled in size and had three times the amount before she had the hot bath. I ended up taking her to the Emergency Room, I was told the hot water is what caused this reaction.
I was putting her in the hot bath because she itched so bad. To my surprise this is the worst thing you can do.
Tracy Pavan

Histamine is the chemical that causes a reaction, an itch, in a person with poison ivy, bug bites, etc. When you almost scald your skin with hot water, a great amount of histamine rushes to the site and it temporarily itches more. At a point, the histamine flushes from the site and voila--no more itching until the histamine builds back up at the site.

The hot water treatment works for athlete's foot too, and for any itching in the toe area. It took less than a week of applying very hot water (the hottest I could bear) for 1-2 minutes at the beginning of my showers and sometimes throughout the day, to get rid of the problem completely, without using any ointments.

I have had severe cases of hives, and a hot shower always made it worse, but cold helped the discomfort. This was before I read the article about hot water for bites, itching, etc. It does work and I have used it ever since and have told my family all about it.

I also give my husband mustard for cramps, for almost instant relief. Read that here too.

The mom is right, hot water opens the pores and causes hives to spread dramatically. There is a huge difference between hives and a mosquito bite! Hot water for bite, yes, hot water for hives, NO!!!

I have seasonal allergies--a few weeks each spring and fall. At times, if outside a lot--which i am--I will also get "allergic" reaction on skin--often between toes or fingers. I have used hot water for years--as hot as I can from the tap without scalding. It has worked every single time.

I haven't tried the hot water method but I am allergic to posion ivy and the like. I have always had success with a hair/blow dryer on high heat, using the same methods above. It has taken away the itch for hours at a time and also seems to dry the moist rash and clear it up sooner.

I suffer from severe eczema. The cream doesn't help because it is just rubbed into the dead skin on top and it has thinned my skin so badly from use over the years. By accident I found one day that if I ran hot water on the problem that it was the only way to get some relief and I was able to get sleep.

If your itch is on an easy-to-reach skin surface, save some water and use a cloth bag or heavy cotton sock filled loosely with white rice (so it will drape a little) and warm it in the microwave oven. The size is up to you, and you'll have to experiment with the time to heat it up. You can relax while your itches fade away.

When I have poison ivy or sunburn, even the hot water from my shower makes the area itch unbearably. The only thing that stops itching for me is ice.

When it gets cold outside, if I go out even with coats and sweaters, I get a very fine rash that itches, on my upper legs and hips and arms, sometimes it speads over my back and chest if I stay out long enough. Would hot water/shower help that?

I suffered from excema, and nothing really helped. One day I was making bread by hand, and all the itchiness disappeared. This was very successsful and happened every time I made bread.

I used to use hot water to relieve contact dermatitis on my wrists when I worked in a greenhouse about 25 years ago. It definitely was the only thing I found that stopped the itching. One warning, however, is that if my itching was intense the hot water felt so good that it was difficult to resist using water that was too hot. I sometimes scalded my wrists. However, even the scalded skin felt better than the itching.

I now have a small electrical device that can be plugged in or run on batteries that stops itching. For me it is safer than the hot water.

Heat definitely works, but as people have warned, using hot water can be dangerous. What works for me is to apply hot heat from a common HOT HAIR DRYER. This way I can treat little areas even if I am in bed or sitting in my chair.

I found the home remedy for itching at the website many people have found. I used

A caveat about hot water on poison ivy... it works well for me, really provides relief... but I learned the hard way that you must first wash the area to remove the poison ivy oil, or at least wait to see if blisters form.

Use a soap that's formulated to remove urushiol.

Shortly after hearing of the hot water trick, I stupidly tried it at the first sign of tingling on my arm, and I'm convinced I made things worse by not washing my arm carefully first. Either the hot water spread the oil around more, or opened the pores so more got into my skin--or something--but at any rate that became the worst case I've ever had--one of the blisters grew to the size of an egg. Wash the area first!

My father was extremely allergic to poison ivy, and whenever he'd go outdoors to where there might be some, he'd lather up the Fels Naphtha soap and put the lather on his arms and legs and let it dry, then go about whatever he wanted to and then come in and wash off the dried soap. This worked well for him.

I have had several drug reactions that produced terrible hives. I remember taking a bath or shower as hot as I could stand and received some relief. It had been years since my last drug reaction (I avoid drugs like the plague) and 20 years or so since I last used the hot water bath method of itch control. Recently I had another albiet somewhat less intense outbreak of hives. I tried the hot water bath again with oatmeal but ended up taking benedryl which did eventually calm me down.

I used to itch miserably from poison oak until I discovered that a hot shower would make the itching feel intense for a moment, and then I was itch-free the rest of the day and the itchy spots soon disappeared. Nothing else relieved the itch.

As a child in the 1940's and 50's I suffered from eczema to the point of being hospitalized on several occasions. I had large bloody scales all over my body. They would have to tie my hands or glove them at night to keep me from scratching. They also smeared me with vaseline and wrapped me in cloth to relieve the itching. Sounds cruel but it was the only thing that could be done to prevent my scratching. If left on my own I would scratch the skin off. I went through every conceivable therapy and allergy test for years. Nothing worked to releive the itching except hot water, which I discovered as a teenager on my own.

Later, I found a doctor who also suffered from eczema. He had concocted a skin cream which contained granulated caffeine. This worked wonderfully. It was the only topical cream that ever actually relieved my itching. Sadly, the doctor is no longer with us, and I lost access to the formulation.

Stress can bring on eczema. Take a hot bath with epsom salts to get temporary relief. To my knowledge, nobody really knows what causes eczema but it is known to be hereditary.

I had a terrible case of poison ivy on my legs once, and this was the only thing that helped. The super hot water stings and itches at first, but then it goes away and feels a million times better.

I have had totally different I started thru menepause I had intense vaginal itching.....nothing on the market would help.
One night (always was worse at night) I knocked a glass of ice water into my lap. Instantly the itching stopped!!!! I used ice water there during this time in my life with the greatest results.

Hives: ALWAYS use cold water; literally try to freeze the area with the water. If you cant get running water that cold use an ice cube or ice pack; it reduces the swelling and itch from hives (i have life threatening allergies im used to hives and this is what gets rid of them without benadryl)

Anything Else: if you are heat sensitive use cold water and freeze the area like above. The heat makes things worse if you are heat sensitive to begin with and you will be much happier freezing the area multiple times than making things worse with hot water.

I have had hives for years from the cold, so the ice method mentioned would not be good for me. I used to take Benedryl but didn't like it because it made me drowsy. I just try to get as warm as possible and they go away. I would be interested in any advice for hives caused by cold.

I have also found this advice to be true for both mosquito bites and poison ivy. I experience almost complete relief from itching for 4-8 hours.

The Itch Stopper saved my life when I lived in Guatemala for two years. You can find the Stopper online. I was plagued with flea bites. The itching was horrible, lasting two weeks at times. The Itch Stopper sends an electrical stimulus that reaches cell level disrupting the histamine reaction, something that creams cannot do. The bites lasted only two days and didn't itch or turn into huge red lumps. Relief!

I have always suffered from itchy skin and found that a hot shower is very effective especially at night before bed.

But this is method seems to go against the "expert advice" that tells us to avoid hot water?

My conclusion is that these so called experts have never experienced the curse of severe itchy skin.

Hi All,

This problem and relief is much simpler than everyone has explained. BUY a HANDHELD shower head, and then use it anywhere on your body. This is a method I discovered over 20 years ago, and it still works. Also, be sure to apply a moisturizer lotion AFTERWARDS so as not to dry out your skin.


This hot water cure WORKS and is miraculous as far as I am concerned. A few months ago I had a terrible bout with insect bites: some I think were a severe allergic reaction to a bite, but some I think were bad spiders or some insect. I tried everything the pharmacy and my dermatologist had to offer, and then went to People's Pharmacy web site in total desperation and read about the hot water treatment. I couldn't believe it. At first you think it isn't working, but then you stop the hot water and realize the itching is gone. I use it on any bite now, and have told everyone I know. It is great!

I use hot water for relief of itching, but this makes my condition worse. If I can avoid the scalding hot water for approx 7-10 days My hives will normally go away. (No easy task though) I have tried ice packs
w/some relief but not the cure. (I'm still searching for some permanent relief)

Absolutely! As a teenager, I suffered from terrible eczema and dermatitis, along with occasional hives all over my body. I learned that standing in a near-scalding shower would give me amazing relief. For my itchy hands, I would just run them under very hot water a couple times a day. Haven't had problems for years, but this past week I had a skin reaction, probably from the NyQuil I took. (I rarely take any medications, which could explain why my allergies stopped when I moved out on my own!) I tried the hot shower method again, to blissful relief!

Absolutely! As a teenager, I suffered from terrible eczema and dermatitis, along with occasional hives all over my body. I learned that standing in a near-scalding shower would give me amazing relief. For my itchy hands, I would just run them under very hot water a couple times a day. Haven't had problems for years, but this past week I had a skin reaction, probably from the NyQuil I took. (I rarely take any medications, which could explain why my allergies stopped when I moved out on my own!) I tried the hot shower method again, to blissful relief!

I discovered about 2 years ago that if I took a shower with extreme hot water, my itching would subside for most of the day. I use a hand held shower head on a hose and target itchy hot spots. it feels great.

I had shingles 6 months ago and still have the itch which is associated with it. I tried many creams, hot water, nothing works. Does anyone have any suggestions who had the same problem?

The fast relief that came from using hot water on itchy areas seem to work really well for me. The hot water helped circulated blood throughout my body and help relieve the focus on that one itchy area.

A technique I also learned to do with a large area that is itchy was to soak in a warm bath filled with water and put oatmeal in it. This might also work for those who get hives.

Interesting take on itch relief, however I've always used ice or ice packs for itching, especially bug bites. My kids now run to the freezer anytime they have an insect bite without me even saying anything to them. Hot water can exacerbate dry skin, so I wouldn't think it would be advisable for eczema.

I first discovered the hot water treatment when I had chicken pox as an adult. A bath as hot as I could stand it every few hours stopped the itching.

I have allergies, eczema, autoimmune problems. If your skin is itching, how can more heat help? may feel better for the moment, but you are causing more inflammation. I have had eczema for 20 years.

I found out a few years ago the "poison ivy" I was getting was actually poison parsnip. It's water-based and there is no immunity from it. The effect is superphotosensitivity of the skin, so it's first a rash then forms blisters, activated by any exposure to UV light (indoor or outdoor). If your contact dermatitis ends up as yellow bubbles, there's a good chance it's this. Using sunblock will prevent it, or prevent it from getting worse! Anyhow, the hot water treatment is absolutely amazing on poison parsnip. I have had to run an arm, leg or hand under hot water just to get enough relief to get to sleep.

I have found hot water has worked for me on mosquito and fire ant bites. When I come in from working in the yard I sit on the edge of the tub and run hot water over my legs. I had a very bad itchy bite on my arm and did the same in the shower and it worked.

Hot water is by far the best treatment for athletes foot. I would suggest using a foot cream as well after drying your feet. I would suggest using running bath water with the drain plug open for feet, or a hot shower for anything else. Others mentioned a hair dryer which is what I originally tried but found it cracked the skin and made it too dry. The hot water treatment works great.

i have been using extremely hot water for over 25 years. I Kept this a secret because I was afraid of being called "disturbed or "mental."

I stumbled across this blog today after wondering if maybe, just maybe I was not the only one getting relief. I have asthma, eczema, dermatitis off/on for 40 yrs. I have tried all creams, soaps, etc...$$$$$$$$$$

I found hot water by accident many years ago working in a restaurant kitchen.

IT WORKS!!!!!!!


Not everyone with eczema will benefit. BRIEF exposure (second or two at most) and NEVER hot enough to BURN!!!

Hot water for excema? Are you out of your mind? I have excema on my hands and feet. Hot water sends my excema into a bout of itching so bad I scratch until I bleed. I can no longer wear shoes or socks, either. Cool to cold works better; along with saline soaks.

I used almost-scalding hot water to treat my last bout of poison ivy, which provided amazing relief. I found rather surprisingly that I enjoy this extremely hot water on normal skin and have started taking very hot showers. This is very intensely enjoyable for me, but I don't quite understand why and I haven't been able to find anyone else having this experience. Perhaps it has something to do with drawing histamine into the skin (making it itchy) and then flushing out again?

Hot water is very effective and quite enjoyable way for itch relief. It works well for poison ivy and also itch related to dry skin in the winter (need to immediately apply a lot of lotion afterward though, because heat actually could dry the skin even more). There would be a rush of intense itch that actually gives you a "rush", followed by drastic itch relief good for at least 4-5 hours. A good, cheap way to avoid harsh scratching and more damage to the skin.

(Hot water is very effective and quite enjoyable way for itch relief.
gives you a "rush") Yes, I totally agree.

That is exactly why I looked this up, the dry skin of winter makes my legs itch and hot water relieves the itch and leaves me feeling almost euphoric.

I stepped in an ant pile while gardening last year and nothing I owned could help with the pain and itching I had. For some reason, I thought of ice water. My husband fixed a huge bowl of it and my itching stopped immediately. I simply soaked my feet in it until the pain stopped and if it came back, I repeated a few times until I had total relief.

I have hives and taking a hot bath helps dramatically, stops itching and the bumps fade away. On the other hand ice cold water has helped with sever bug bites. The treatment really depends on the person.

I have sun allergy and although I try to be careful and always use sunscreen sometimes you get "caught" in the sun. Invariably I get an itchy rash on my back, legs and arms.... the only thing that really gives immediate relief is a hot shower. I was amazed. Found the histamine explanation really interesting. I don't remember anyone telling me of the remedy I just was so miserable I turned the faucet up out of desperation and found such relief. Talked to another co-worker with the same problem and she said she read about it in the Graedons's column and agreed that it helped her too.

As an 80 year old man, I was finding a skin reaction to the blood pressure medicine I was taking. Some local eruptions were only helped by a strong prescription cortisone. However, over large portion of my body, especially the lower legs and hand, the hot water gives instant and long lasting relief. It helps with the effects of wearing heavy support hose as well. I found this out by accident.

I get eczema on my hands and feet. This treatment works for me every time. The water needs to be very, very hot as you can stand, for about a minute. I have scalded myself before by mistake so please be careful. Like other folks have said, it helps to use a shower head on a hose, start cool, and gradually increase the temperature. This is for allergy induced sounds like it can make some other conditions, like maybe hives, worse.

I discovered this one day after walking barefoot across hot asphalt and seriously burning the bottoms of my feet. But my eczema went away...and did not return for months. I have used near-scalding hot water ever since, and like I said it brings relief every time.

Thank you for the explanation as to why the almost-scalding hot water technique always works for me. I was reluctant to use it in the aftermath of a bee sting on my instep with swelling and very severe itching over a fairly large area that failed to respond to all-day ice packs and cortisone creams never. In desperation, I tried the hot water spray, and thankfully, it immediately worked for several hours and allowed me to get some most welcome relief and sleep.

Hot water does work for hives. the opening of your pores is a good thing for it, because histamine is released when the hot water hits your skin. It itches a little more briefly, then it goes away. You have to take a long shower. 20 to 30 minutes of water as hot as you can stand it. If you have them all over your body, squat in the shower underneath the water and keep making the water warmer and warmer until it's almost too hot to stand. sit there and let it hit your body. It will work. I had an extreme case of hives, from head to toe and this was one of the only things that worked.

I have scabies and nothing in the world has ever itched like this. I've tried everything to stop the itching: alcohol, vinegar, cortisone creams, prescription medication for itching, benadryl tablets... nothing works. The only relief I get is from the hottest water I can stand.

Amazing bunch of people.... I am 64, male, and have had horrible itching for the last 7?? years. I grew up in poison oak country and for 50 years been a believer in the hot shower fix. My mom used to tell me I was spreading it with the hot water, but what did she know.... I was in heaven on a itch break while the hot water pounded my skin. When I got the itchy legs a while back, I again found out that really hot water made the itch feel fantastic... then a few years back my scrotum started itching all the time and guess what... scalding water again. I don't get it, and I have never heard anyone with the itchy scrotum thing, but I would hate the thought of taking my morning shower without the leg, back and ankle scald... and I swear this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

I suffer from bad eczema mainly on my arms and have done for all of my life. I was sitting in the bath the other week and totally by accident I put really hot water from the shower head on my arms and it was such a huge relief!!! The water was so hot I couldn't let it touch any other part of my body but on my eczema it didn't it was like the best itch ever!! For me the hotter the water the better!!

I have a rash over most of my body for about 3 weeks. Am seeing a dermatologist this week. In the mean time I have gone to 3 doctors which resulted in a cortizone shot and other medications that only helped a couple days. The only thing that is working for me is a hot shower every 6-8 hours followed by slathering Sarma all over.

After reading comments here discovered I am not alone. Am going through menopause having stopped HRT in December and have very itchy rash all over my body which seems to be spreading daily! Like some others I honestly thought I had some deep dark secret because I use very hot water either in the bath or the shower to relieve the itch. It does work but I still have the rash so making a futile visit to the docs next week.

I must say I just had a bad eczema/hives break out and I decided to take a shower. Everyone says they make hives worse but I must say I am that exception. It feels SO GOOD. My hives don't double in size, they don't itch anymore for hours, and by then they disappear. I take an anti-histamine, get anti-itch cream and a hot shower. I'm not saying to go jump in a bath if it bothers you, but I'm the queen of sensitive skin (hives,eczema,hay fever, allergic reaction to mosquito bites) and hot water to GOD.

if any of you have been on steroid creams, please look into topical steroid addiction. Red, itchy rash caused by prolonged topical steroids.

Re hives & hot baths with oatmeal. I did the same and it got worse. Since I see several people also used the oatmeal, I'm wondering if the contributed to worsening hives? I also had bad reaction from using too much salts in bath water with hives. I, too, have good results from mild itching and hot shower. I had two consecutive episodes of hives that almost put me in the hospital, so I am now very careful.

Oh man...I've been using hot water for reactions to weeds, rashes on feet, etc. It provides instant (almost orgasmic) relief. I just came here to see if I was harming myself, but obviously not.
Thanks for the confirmation.

I discovered the hot water remedy for poison ivy itching by accident. I was in the shower, someone flushed a toilet, and by dumb luck / chance found relief! Haha. I'm glad to see I am not imagining this. I once told a friend the sensation while applying hot water was like itching and scratching at the same time. It is a bizarre sensation - but afterwards, the results are unmistakable - NO ITCHING!!!

This hot water treatment has been a godsend! I actually look forward to my poison ivy itching me since the hot water feels so good and actually lasts a few hours! Way better than Caladryl or Bactine!

I too have been using the hot water treatment for all kinds of itches including insect bites of all kinds (I'm a retired forester and spent a lot of time outdoors). I got great relief with this using running water as hot as I could stand without scalding myself.

Thank god I'm not alone in using very hot water showers for instant relief from eczema itching. I too discovered this by accident. A shower head with a hose is a must. Start off with warm water and direct it on to the itchy areas. Then slowly turn up the water temp until it is as hot as you can stand it [not so hot as to scald].

You get an intense [pleasurable] itch at first and then the itching disappears. I have itchy legs making it almost impossible to sleep unless I have the hot water treatment every night. I stay in the shower for about 15 mins playing the hot water over all the itchy areas again and again until my legs go pink but be careful not to scald. I then use a cream moisturizer to stop the skin drying out. A great treatment that I find really works for me.

I discovered this remedy years ago when I had a serious patch of poison oak on my arm. The thing I like about it is just before the hot water gets too hot, it feels almost orgasmic! Then the itch is gone for hours! Highly recommend!

It felt so good I think I burned my arm.
I don't know if I actually burned it, or if the rash got bigger.
I have an appointment in two days to see the doctor, so I can find out what I have.

The itchy site to be treated should be a small area. I also have found itch relief and speedy healing whether it be an insect bite, rash, or mildly infected area. Large areas, such as generalized hives or rashes, will not respond effectively.

WOW!! I feel so much better knowing that I am not alone! However I feel very bad for all of us that have to deal with itchy skin on a daily basis. I have been using the hot water treatment for a few months now and it is an almost orgasmic relief as to how it feels. Best part is I can sleep and so can my husband all night without me scratching my skin literally off!

This is NOT a Cure but until I find one it is the best relief I have yet to find! If anyone knows of a product that really works please let us know! I have found a Great lotion I would like to share with all of you. Especially after a HOT water treatment. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E Skin Therapy Lotion Intensive Relief. Moisturizing Formula to Soothe 1) Severely Dry Skin, 2) Itchy Skin, 3) Irritated Skin. This lotion is Hypoallergenic, Paraben Free, Fragrance Free.and about $6 at WalMart.

I discovered the hot water trick for itches accidentally a few years ago, so far it has cured every itch I have tried it on from hives to wasp sting after-itch. I run the water at the hottest temp I can stand for about a minute. After around 30 seconds it is hard to tell whether the water is very hot or cold, I take this as a sign it is working. It has occurred to me that this technique could also be effective against certain jellyfish stings as well.

People's Pharmacy response: Hot water is great for itches, but not for hives or jellyfish stings. For jellyfish, meat tenderizer in vinegar is supposed to be helpful.

I have had a rash for 2 1/2 mos. now! I have seen 2 doctors and one dermatologist. I have been on antibiotics and creams, but have found the most relief in a hot shower. When I tell the doctors this... they don't seem to understand why it helps me? Puzzled in CO!

I make camomille tea and apply with either a cottonball or a washcloth after it cools. I also like Apple cider vinegar for bug bites or sunburn kind of itch. Aloe vera is very soothing and so is honey..

I had the worst case of poison oak ever, according to the doctor I saw. It was all over my body because I had touched a leaf somewhere then when I got home from my jog, I decided to go swimming so put a one piece bathing suit on (which spread the oil all over). He gave me medication etc. I did not use the medication. Instead came home and took the hottest shower ever.

I had to shower about every 6 hours but only itched at the 6 hour mark, until I showered again. I had to do this for about 7 days (that's how long the poison oak lasted). It was amazing and anytime I have an annoying itch, I use the hot water method. Yes, it's the histamines and they are washed away. In fact, I did it tonight because I had a scratch that was itching like crazy!!

Whenever my husband comes in contact with water, in his shower, swimming pool, ocean, he becomes so itchy when he comes out. It lasts about 10 minutes then goes away. Any reasons why or solutions???

Had awful itching from noseeum bites - nothing worked (calamine, Benadryl topical, cortizone) until I read about trying hot water. The water briefly intensified the itching incredibly and then it was just hot. No itching for hours after and in for some of the bites it never came back at all. I

I learned that when the itching turned to just feeling hot, I could stop holding the bites under the water.

Same thing happened to me with the hot water! I've got some kind of hives/itching going on for some weeks now, just about on the verve of going to the doctor to see what's up. I've had itchy skin off and on, but nothing like this! It's been slowly spreading over the past couple of weeks, not much, but still spreading around my back.

I noticed taking a shower a week ago, it made my back itch like gangbusters at first, but it felt GOOD without scratching my skin! Then I also noticed the hotter I made the water the better it felt, and then after about 5 or 10 mins, it stopped itching all together!

I also noticed if I put on some medicated Gold Bond or even generic (Walmart has some) before I went to bed, it would be burning hot on my skin for about 10 mins, but actually felt GOOD! So far I've had no problem falling asleep and haven't had much problem sleeping or waking up itchy!

If it doesn't start backing off in a few days, I'll probably have to check with the Dr., because it is still annoying!

Only two treatments have worked for me in the past thirty years - a steroid shot or the hot water treatment. The steroid shot raises my blood sugar - I am diabetic. My doctor says the hot water is bad for me because it dries up my skin. However, it works but only for about a day or two. After prolonged use of the hot water treatment, I end up with the steroid shot, usually combined with the methylprednisone pack. This is such a curse I almost feel it is not worth living. I have spent thousands of dollars on allergy tests and doctors and they have found nothing except penicillin as an allergent. Any help will be appreciated.

I had eczema since I was 10, and finally by the time i was 18 it slowly disappeared. Hot water made it worse, I would soak in warm olive oil, use aveeno, tea tree oil and Vaseline. They seemed to work better than the medicine the doctor gave me for eczema (pricey).

Yes it really does work. I discovered that quite by accident when I contacted poison oak. My whole body got red and itchy starting with my face down to my legs. One evening I just let the water run as hot as I could stand it and that relieved the itching somewhat for 3 or 4 hours. Now I always do it with mosquito bites and it definitely stops the itching for a few hours. I wonder why this is so but it definitely does work.

My worst itching is confined to my head and crotch.The crotch itch responds well to menthol-based cream or ointment. The only help for head itching is taking a shower and working up the temp to where its almost scalding. I get a mixed reaction of intense pain and soothing pleasure. Since the itching interferes with my sleeping I do it either just before going to bed or even in the middle of the night when my scratching wakes me up.

I'm 82 and fairly active during the day when the itch is less bothersome. I tried using a hot pack, especially on the two skull nodes at the rear base of my brain. That works for a couple of hours and then the itch returns. I tried pouring a little peroxide into each ear to ease that daylong itch, but it only worked once. This is the first article I've read that accounts for the relief I get with very hot water, so it sounds safe and I'll keep ding it until something better comes along. Any comments?

Dear JW:

You are so right, and it is amazing how much your life experience mirrors my own - I am 65 now and have been plagued by skin problems all my life.I don't care what dermatologists say or think they know- hot water helps a lot, and so does zinc/talc in powdered form as in Tinactin - not the spray.



I am a 64-year-old female. When I was 14, I started experiencing severe itching all over my body after a bath, swimming, or any kind of complete exposure to water. At that age, I had no clue about this kind of thing. I only know it just about drove me nuts! I had no visible rash spots, hives, or anything that looked abnormal on my skin while I was itching. It just looked like it always did every day. ON MY OWN, I discovered that when I got into bed and wrapped myself tightly in my bedclothes after taking a bath in water as hot as I could stand without causing blisters, the itching would gradually subside.

I can remember that in one instance, it took 4 HOURS to stop. In the intervening 50 years of my life, I have asked every doctor I have seen about what would cause this, how to stop it, and how to treat it. NONE OF THEM HAD A CLUE!!!! They said they had never heard of this before and did not know why what I was doing would make a difference. I have used every over-the-counter lotion, cream, anti-itch stuff, oatmeal soap, Vaseline, everything I have ever thought of or had suggested to me and nothing works!!!!

I find it incredible that none of the general practitioners, gynecologists, dermatologists that I have seen in 50 years have answers for me. The typical medical response is "Huh. I have no idea." Why are we not getting any answers from the medical profession??????!!!!! All of us who experience this phenomenon seem to have to fend for ourselves.

I have spent thousands of dollars doing allergy testing and getting steroid shots for my itch. The hot water treatment works but it is temporary, lasting for maybe 24 hours and then the itch can comes back. I have managed to control the problem after seeing many doctors. I have occasional itch but it does not bother me as much any more. I attribute the solution to two things I do. I take large quantities of Zyrtec (about 2 to 4 pills) everyday. I use a hydro-cortisone cream which I buy at a very low cost ($0.85 per tube) and a rub it fairly hard into areas that I have itch.

It usually stops the itch after a few minutes. It has been about 6 months since I had to do the hot water treatment - I use to do it about 3 times a week.

Hi... I am amazed that upon checking this site by random, tonight, (Google) I ran across my previous post of 2008! Anyway, as I mentioned then, all you need to do is use a hand held shower head and you don't have to worry about scalding yourself.... you can very easily adjust the temperature; I've found that when I first apply it that it does work somewhat at a milder temperature, but then as I raise the temperature, it definitely will eventually make the itching stop.... I've itched so bad at times, I'd get up at 3 am to take a shower just to be able to get back to sleep. I must mention, this time, that I've always described this to my best friends, "as feeling like multiple orgasms" This is definitely true in the groin area from "jock itch", but also happens on "any part of the body" from shin to arms. I'm sure everyone has their own type of itch, and perhaps it's not for some things; perhaps with blisters??? and COLD water does also work for me, but I HATE cold water!

I sometimes, like tonight, put the colder water on before I get out of the shower, just to close the pores. Also, I suggest you use a lotion of your choice, afterwards to prevent the drying out of your skin. One comical note.... when I mentioned the "orgasmic feeling" to a lady friend, once, she said "what kind of shower head do you have".... I had to laugh, but it's really true, as it's really scratching your itch without the scratching.

Hope this is helpful,

Hi Dan.....Just buy a hand held shower head which has a cord long enough to reach your crotch.....I've used this method of applying hot and very hot water, especially for jock (crotch) itch, but for my ENTIRE body, and it works 100%....probably should apply a lotion, afterwards.


LOL I couldn't believe the answers here! I thought I was all messed up or something.

I was trying to describe the sensation to some friends and I told them the hot water creates an almost unbearable itch for a moment and then amazingly satiates it in a rather pleasurable moment of relief. So pleasurable, in fact, that it feels almost sinful.

Very comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this and uses it for itch relief. TY!

Gil...your 100% correct in your does indeed feel like a super powerful orgasm, that's no word of a lie. Once people try this hot water method they will NEVER switch.

I read with interest the above comments about using hot water to relieve itching.
I was really amused at the comments about the hot water feeling as good as an orgasm.
I am currently battling with itching. I don't do doctors and discovered quite by accident that hot water relieves the itch. I do it once a day, with an extended shower head. I think while I am doing it that an orgasm could not feel better. I have not mentioned this to another human, didn't want folks to believe me weird. It is of some comfort to me that others have the same reaction. The visible signs of rash are about all gone, but the itch remains but is diminishing.

My dad was stung by many hornets from a disturbed nest when he was 10 yrs. old, went home and jumped in a cold bath, hoping to help with the pain. Grandma came home shortly thereafter, rushed him to the hospital, where the doc opined that the cold water slowed metabolism and the spread of the venom, saving his life.

I have had a severe allergy to poison ivy since I was a child, and I love the hot water trick. Describing the feeling as "orgasmic" is spot on, although these "orgasms" last much longer and are more full-body orgasms than regular ones. The feeling is almost addictive, which is weird since the poison ivy I have gotten is usually horrible enough to require going on systemic steroids for a week or more.

Moderate itching (the sort of thing you get from a mosquito bite or mild case of poison ivy without blisters)

I had eczema as a child; I grew out of that but I remain susceptible to rashes caused by the chemicals released by some plants when cut and from certain types of dust produced by D.I.Y. / building products. The symptoms are large patches of rough, raised, reddened skin often with tiny blisters, all of which is sore and very itchy. The rash is usually worst on the backs of the hands, forearms and shoulders but can also appear on the neck, upper chest and occasionally the legs.

I found the response of the medical profession was indifference and ignorance - typically a doctor would prescribe some expensive greasy cream that was useless and sometimes made things worse but probably made a kickback profit for him/her. Consequently I have relied for years on treatment by very hot water which I too discovered by accident - it not only provides hours of relief but also briefly a quite ecstatic pleasure. In addition to the histamine removal explanation given above I would add that in my observation the hot water opens the pores and blisters and simply removes a quantity of whatever substance is irritating you. Because the heat is wet it doesn't burn you but will stimulate the nerve endings under your skin. It also removes grease off your skin whereas normal scratching merely grinds more in.

If you let your skin dry in the air after the hot water treatment it will go very dry but you will lose some irritating dead skin as well. Don't try repeating the hot water treatment until you start seriously itching again - it will just hurt if you do it again too soon. The rash will take time to go but you will get rid of it. If your skin is already too sore for hot water then the only other thing I found to be effective was a basic "deadening" product, petroleum jelly; consider - even phosphorus kept in petrol won't burn. Anyway I have found hot water to be a fantastic remedy and when I told those doctors who couldn't help me about it they told me I must be wrong. Well we can't all be wrong, can we ?

I've been using hot/scalding water to reduce itching in severe eczema for many years. it really works!

I have made previous entries on this subject, commenting on why the medical profession has been clueless about this treatment. I don't know if AJH has a point about drug kickbacks, but there must be some reason. I took a copy of some of your responses to my doctor's office and he did not even take time to read them. I just don't get it.

Sometimes, even the hottest shower doesn't work for me. I have neither hives nor poison ivy or insect bites, just a terribly itchy skin. If just parts of my scalp itch CVS has a lovely anti-itch cream which seems to generate the needed heat. Other times a nice skin cream will prevent itching. Guess we have to stop looking for the cure-all and find what works at a given time.

I started taking "plavix" 75mg a day right after I had stents put in my heart. My Dr. said I would have to stay on Plavix for a year. Since that time I have started itching with no physical signs on the skin, like bumps or hives. This has been 3 months now and I get no relief from any medication or creams. The Dr. doesn't think it is an allergy to Plavix, but he has no answers. Has anyone had this experience from that pill, Plavix?

Yes, if the itch is bad enough it really does feel like an orgasm. I had a horrible rash on both forearms a few years ago. A trip to the dermatologist was a waste of time. Finally out of sheer desperation I ran my arms under hot water in the kitchen sink.

My wife was sitting at the kitchen table, and when the hot water hit it felt so good my knees nearly buckled. I said, through clenched teeth "Oh my God, this is better than sex." The relief was immediate and overwhelming. But what was really surprising was that the relief (but not the orgasm sensation) lasted for a day or more.

I now use this method for chigger bites, the bane of my summer existence. The results are less spectacular, but just as effective. One good scald, and no itching for at least a day or two.

I am allergic to many over the counter and prescribed medications, when I have an experience with hives - taking a hot bath always, always give me instant relief however as soon as I would get out of the tub and dry off almost within minutes the hives were back and doubled in size and the sting/itch is much more severe than previous. Now, cold water on the other hand for hives from an allergic reaction is a much harsher (bath) then a hot one however you receive real relief other than extremely temporary relief. For mosquito bites hot water does in fact for me always do the trick.

I agree--the hot water treatment is effective. My problem is that I tend to scald areas near the bite, then they become open sores, develop a staph infection, then I have to go on antibiotics.

It's still preferable to the intense itching that seems to upset my whole life unbearably until I can stop it for a few hours with the hot water, especially at night so I can relax and sleep. I am 62, was always susceptible to skin infections, however this became markedly worse when I moved to a hot and humid climate.

I got poison ivy several times where I used to live. The first time, I thought I would die it was so bad. I ended up using prednisone which my doctor prescribed which drove me crazy. The time after that I found really hot water gave me 2 to 4 hours of relief. Luckily this time, it was on my arms instead of legs. At work, I would go to the bathroom and let the hot water run for up to a minute. The hot water hurt so GOOD! Aloe or moisturizer afterwards helps the skin not to be so dried out. But the poison ivy cleared easily from hot water baths.

I have recently found that the hot water causes the dermal cells to release all their histamine. So it works sort of the same as taking antihistamines. But it doesn't make you drowsy.

The funny thing was that the doctors always told me not to bathe the area in hot water, but to use cool water. I laugh. The cool water made the itching worse.

>"I have recently found that the hot water causes the dermal cells to release all their histamine. So it works sort of the same as taking antihistamines. But it doesn't make you drowsy".

Good find Thelma, that explains the relief.

So glad I'm not alone. I discovered this on my own when I was 18 and had poison ivy. The relief from running hot water over the itch was so overwhelming I almost wanted to cry. Since then I've used this treatment countless times for allergic reactions and bug-bites.
No OTC cream I've used has ever worked as well, as quickly, or for as long.

My ankles and tops of my hands always start to itch at the beginning of winter. Very hot water also works for me, I generally clench my fist and start the water cool until I have to take it away... It's almost a sense of euphoria (maybe that's how dogs feel when you give them an itch and there leg goes off on one) I then use rather hydromol or lanacane afterwards. This generally lasts my all night. I'm trying to avoid steroid creams. Sometimes the water brings up little nettle sting style bumps but goes down afterwards and is better than itchy dry red hands. I've also used calamine lotion before it does the opposite and drys the area but like it does for chicken pox it helps is more messy!

After suffering severe dermatitis/eczema on my hands for over a year and doing thousands of dollars' worth of allergy tests, I finally figured out the cause - ARTIFICIAL COLORS - in foods, drugs, cosmetics and hygiene products. It's NOT an allergy. ARTIFICIAL COLORS ARE MANUFACTURED FROM COAL TAR! TOXIC WASTE!!

You don't even know how good it feels to read all of your comments about itch relief from almost scolding water.

I discovered the almost scolding water treatment to relieve extreme itching by accident three years ago to get relief from bed bugs bites. I was going completely crazy. I had 220 bites all over my body and the only relief was showering with almost scolding hot water. The effect were an extreme pleasure in the part of the body the water was being put on. The pleasure was similar to mini orgasm in that specific watered area. Multiple mini orgasms all over my body for 5 to 10 minutes.

After 10 or 15 minutes my while body felt a deep kind of satisfaction and the skin orgasm (I think we should find a name for this phenomenon since it may be not know in the medical field: antihistamine skin orgasm? Derma orgasm? What do you all think? Somebody should write an article and publish it) would slowly stop. I knew I had gotten my fix. I say fix because it almost felt like drugs need. The relief lasted 6 to 8 hours.

The bed bugs disappeared after 2 months of almost going crazy. The only remedy was almost scolding hot water.

Now I'm back having the same horribly unbearable itch all over my body. The problem is that this time I don't know the cause of this. I'm going a bit crazy.

Symptoms: extreme itch all over my body, almost nothing on the skin except sometimes 1 or 2 small pimple it the itching areas, the less I scratch the less it itch the more I scratch the more it itches, the itch seems to be in my skin or within my body, I feel almost as if I had hives under my skin without having any swollen on my skin. After a few hours of hot water treatment I feel swollen inside but not in the skin. It's not visible.

Of course I went to the dermatologist and she gave me some stuff that doesn't work. I told her about hot water skin orgasm relief and she looked me as if I were crazy and told that showering too often causes dry skin and that I shouldn't shower most than 1x day.
I don't know what to do.

Zyrtec doesn't work but almost scolding water does. Shoulder Zyrtec 10 ml a day work since the almost scolding water treatment has to do with histamine release?

Could it be food, detergent, or some other kind of allergy?

I'm glad to find someone else who has done this although I'm gonna have to take it up a notch I'm allergic to latex and didn't know it for years lol no doctor could explain my rash on my penis But I did find great relief in spraying my genitals with hot water I was like WTF I'm a freak
LoL I also have eczema and this works wonders for it.
The doctors told me to stop so I stopped going to the doctors.

I have an insane rash (unknown cause) on my hips along with hives on my arms. The itching is nonstop and annoying. Gels, creams, powders, etc provide almost no relief.

Decided to google this tonight on a whim and read through this entire thread haha.

Taking a really hot shower is like a full body orgasm. Almost better than sex. The sensation is amazing and it provides enough relief from itching to be able to fall asleep.

Hi, it really works. First fully open the hot and cold water mixing tap or pipe. First flow the warm water on your itchy area and then slowly decrease the cold water flow tap. And using one hand slightly rub your itchy area and feel the more and convenient heat of the water. Later using dry towel remove the wet. Finally apply coconut oil. You feel full day relief from itch.

I have some kind of severe allergy reaction, been going on for weeks. The only relief I got is from hot water. I just stand in shower with the shower head pointed in 1 area about a min or so before moving. It's great but it just won't go away.

tks I tried that and it saving me at least 4 extra hot showers a day.

tks, I am going to get some in the morning...

I too have been doing this for many years for contact dermatitis on my hands. I am a care aide and have an allergy to the vinyl gloves I use during care, making my hands unbearably itchy. After trying many other prescribed remedies, I have found that extreme hot water is absolutely the best treatment for me. The only drawback is that it leaves my hands very dry afterward, so I recommend using a good glycerin based hand cream to moisturize with after.

I only contracted Eczema a few months ago. ON my hands, what misery. When I couldn't stop scratching my hands got worse-open cuts, blisters, just pure misery. I too by accident discovered running my hands under very hot water brought extreme relief. However a short while after doing this my hands would be worse-weeping blisters etc. And of course I was told hot water is the worst thing. All the years of hot water & no gloves doing dishes probably caused this. Oh how I wish I could do the too-hot water treatment, it feels so good. I would do it sometimes even knowing I'd soon pay for that, it felt so good. But I'm not now & having a flare now. I'm using Neosporin cream for eczema & even the anti-itch Neosporin doesn't always work. Gawd I wish I'd worn gloves when younger...

I too have been doing this for years. I discovered it by accident and thought I was the only person who did it. When I have an eczema rash or bug bite and the itching won't stop, creams don't help, and I get desperate, I go to the faucet and turn on the hot water. Our water heater is actually set a bit too high because you can't hold your skin in the running water for more than a couple seconds without scalding, so I hold it under, pull out, and put it back in several times.

Each time I put it under the water the heat builds and becomes almost painful, then I get a huge itch relief like a wave all over the exact location of the rash or lesion. Those who describe it as orgasmic, that is an apt comparison, it does feel almost like an orgasm relief at that spot. Five or six repeats is all it takes - the itch is GONE for hours and hours.

I did it today and am now in the 7th hour and the itch still has not returned. I love my hot water treatment.

Except for the person posting here that said she had to take her daughter to the emergency room because the hot bath made it worse, & they told her there hot water makes it worse, I'm quite shocked.

Everyone else seems to be saying the too-hot water works, for hours, bringing relief. No one mentions after that relief their skin breaks out much worse. And yes, any medical person will tell you hot water is the worst thing for eczema or sensitive skin.

As I said in my earlier post, I agree the hot water feels just fantastic. But 15 minutes later I paid dearly, my hands were just horrid. So I had to not do that. I found that if, instead of doing the hot water, I imagined doing it, well then I would feel like I had to go do it, it was so tempting. So I won't even let myself picture doing it.

My flare has subsided, I pray I don't have another outbreak since I'm wearing those horrible gloves to do dishes-oh how I hate t hem!

Nothing works for everyone or for every ailment. The hot war treatment worked AMAZINGLY for me. I didn't mention the negative effects of the hot water treatment because I didn't have any negative effects. I got relief from the itching of poison ivy when nothing else worked. And I get the same relief from mosquito bites.

For mosquito bites, I recommend running a metal spoon under very hot water, then pressing the spoon against the bite and holding it there for a few seconds. Repeat twice. The water should be hot enough to hurt. I get bad reactions to bites--they blow up into big red welts--and this method gives as much as 6 hours of relief. Why docs don't recommend this method is beyond me.

I've been using high heat application during my hive breakouts for a long time. Not only does it relieve the itch for several hours, it also flattens the swelling. The only downside is that the skin will be totally sore, so I use aloe to soothe it.

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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