General Question

Spargett's avatar

Why do wounds itch as they heal?

Asked by Spargett (5390points) September 23rd, 2008

A good example of this is a tattoo, which starts to itch quite a bit a few days afterwards as soon as the scabs are completely formed.

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20 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

That doesn’t happen with me.

drhat77's avatar

Itching is a sign of inflamation. This is not to be confused with infection. The body heals everything through the inflamatory cycle, which involves sending lots of blood to the area, and brings lots of white cells which remove damamged cells and other garbage. Whenever white cells congregate, certain members of their ranks release histamine, which causes itching.

drhat77's avatar

take THAT shilolo
me, one point , shilolo, like a bazillion

shilolo's avatar

Good answer, sir. May I add though, that the itching associated with tattoos isn’t necessarily due to the scabs, but, is as likely due to eczematous reactions to the tattoo inks themselves.

Nimis's avatar

Sorry, this is a bit of a tangent.
But my tattoo aches when I’m sad.
What’s up with that?

Zaku's avatar

@Nimis: Stress lowers the threshold for the itch sensation. I was just an hour ago reading up on itching, and there are cases of school kids having itching epidemics around testing stress, etc.

Nimis's avatar

Zak: Could I ask what you were reading?
I’ve had problems with itching from stress.

Although my tattoo never itches when I’m stressed.
Only when I’m sad.

Though I guess you could argue that
being sad is a type of stress.
But my tattoo is type-specific!

Zaku's avatar

I was googling about sunburn and itch. Apart from suggesting googling tattoo and itch, the main piece I might point you to is The New York Times (for April 17, 1988, it seems) article, THE IGNOMINIOUS ITCH , by Robert Kanigel.

marinelife's avatar

Stay tuned tomorrow for another exciting episode of Dueling Docs. Will drhat77 exceed his daily lurve personal best? Will shilolo’s patience (or patients) snap? Will there be further action now that the drop trou gauntlet has been thrown down?

It’s the new season and it’s only on Fluther!

drhat77's avatar

OMG marina GA i can’t stop laughing

drhat77's avatar

OMG shilolo GA i can’t stop laughing

Nimis's avatar

Zak: Interesting points/thoughts in the article. Thanks.
Will have to do more personal research. Library, here I come!

Nimis's avatar

Someone, help the poor man.
What is the laughing equivalent to dousing someone who’s on fire?

marinelife's avatar

@nimis JohnPowell has a solution that is not fit for polite company. I am not a guy, but I bet it would work.

@shi I loved both your links. I too laughed out loud.

@drhat Hope you aren’t on duty. Laughing in the ER could be deleterious to the health of some patients.

Nimis's avatar

Oh, dear.

drhat77's avatar

Marina, a male nurse had a nick on his head (he shaved) and i pointed it out to him. he told me he got it from his wife’s razor, and i started laughing so hard, right there in the ER. everyone started looking at me, which just made me laugh harder. kept that up for like two solid minutes.

no patients expereinced deleterious affects, as far as i know

marinelife's avatar

I once had a space clear around me on the train, because I was reading Bertie and Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse and laughing aloud like a hyena.

I like a laugher!

Zaku's avatar

@Nimis: You’re very welcome. Yeah, I thought that was a pretty interesting article, too. Now that I notice it’s 20 years old, I’m interested to see what’s been learned since then about in itch science.

stevenb's avatar

I once was told that itching can be related to nerves regenerating after trauma also. I was told that after surgery on my two broken ankles. Is that true or was my doc pulling my leg?

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