a shower head spraying hot water

Q. Hot water works for itches! I used the hottest water I could stand for a few seconds on my mosquito bites. It gave much more relief than scratching and lasted for hours. Why isn’t this technique common knowledge?

A. We have been writing about hot water (hot enough to hurt but not so hot as to burn) for itchy bug bites for 36 years. We first learned about this remedy from a 1961 edition of the textbook, Dermatology: Diagnosis and Treatment. Perhaps it is no longer mentioned in medical school, since dermatologists now have potent corticosteroid creams to ease itching.

Hot water can also be helpful in easing the itch from poison oak or poison ivy. It should never be used for hives, however, as it can make them worse.

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  1. Eleanor
    New Jersey
    Reply

    My hands often get very itchy, and I find relief if I put them under very hot running water, usually early in the morning or late at night. Does anyone else have this problem?

  2. John
    Perth
    Reply

    I have severe itching dermatitis sores, and very hot water, though causing pain, also causes a pleasurable feeling, giving many hours of relief. Don’t know if this is advisable but it works.

  3. Rocky
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Reply

    I agree with one of the first gentlemen who said that he was shy to admit using hot water for itches to anyone. My wife has been concerned that the hot water could dry out my skin and creat an issue. I use hot water on my back and sides virtually every time I take a shower. I do not use hot water when I take a soaking bath which I also do. I feel vindicated by seeming that I am not the only person who does this. Thank you all so much. I can now take my hot showers knowing that others are doing the same thing.

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