This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Itching is due to some form of skin disease when accompanied by an eruption. When not accompanied by eruption it is usually dub to some irritating element in the blood, to parasites, to the wearing of flannel under-clothing, or to some disorder of the nerves. Very often an eruption appears where none existed at first, in consequence of scratching. Itching increased at night, and accompanied by a pimple rash in the bend of the arms, front of body, and between the fingers is very suspicious of the itch. Itching about the fork of the thigh is indicative of parasites. Wandering itching at night with no visible eruption in the day time is characteristic of urticaria.
Many persons are greatly troubled with an itching, usually without eruption, on the approach of cold weather. This has been termed winter pruritis. In some of these cases little pimples may be seen at the roots of the hairs. This form of itching is due to inactivity of the skin, with a clogged state of the liver in consequence of the excessive use of sweets, fats, and animal food. It is most active in cold weather on account of the lessened activity of the skin at that time. Eczema and other skin affections may be excited by scratching.
Correct diet Encourage the activity of the liver and bowels by fomentations over those organs. Kneading and percussing the bowels, wet-sheet pack vapor baths, enemas when necessary, and obedience to all hygienic laws. When there is great irritation, apply saleratus or soda water, a dram to the pint, carbolic-acid ointment, borax-water, and sometimes starch. Anointing with simple vaseline is often effective. For temporary relief, vinegar, lemon juice, and solution of carbonate of soda, a drachm to the pint, are also excellent. Frequently galvanism is very effective in removing intolerable itching, either applied to the affected parts, or to the nerve centers from which the nerve supply is furnished, or to both.