Itching And Alzheimer’s (Is Your Loved once Scratching All the Time)

scratching alzheimer's

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and is believed to be caused by plaque formation and tangles in the brain that eventually kill and damage nerve cells. Due to the end effect, memory is impaired, along with other cognitive abilities, including thinking, speaking, and judging. Moreover, a person’s ability to lead a regular life is greatly hindered.

People with Alzheimer’s disease may, in addition to experiencing memory loss, suffer from a wide variety of additional difficulties, including itching. It is difficult to state for certain if itching and Alzheimer’s disease are linked to one another. However, in order to recognize that itching is a sign of it, other Alzheimer’s symptoms must also be present.

People’s skin starts to become less elastic as they get older. Because of this, the skin starts to become less capable of holding onto moisture. Thus, the skin gets dry. This makes the skin rough and inflamed, leading to the skin being itchy.

In addition, the use of harsh soaps contributes to the issue. Even if a person takes too many showers or baths in too hard water, their skin will eventually grow dry. It’s possible that using a high-quality moisturizer will be of some use to them.

This blog will discuss the reasons for itching in people with Alzheimer’s and ways to prevent scratching.

Reasons For Itching

Reasons For Itching

There are various reasons why people with Alzheimer’s disease may experience itching, and they may scratch or pick at their skin to relieve the sensation. However, because it could be challenging for your loved one to communicate the nature of the problem with you: you will need to pay careful attention to determine whether you can identify it or not.

1. Skin Dryness

One of the most prevalent factors contributing to itching and picking at the skin is dryness. The skin on our bodies gets more fragile and less able to hold onto moisture as we become older. This frequently causes irritation and itching of the skin.

The use of strong cleansers or soaps, taking an excessive number of showers, or showering in hard or well water can also lead to this condition. In addition, it is widespread in regions of the world characterized by a hot or cold environment and dry air.

2. Fleas

They frequently infest animals as well as surroundings such as carpeting and bedding for pets. Their bites result in red, itchy rashes that may become swollen. When pressure is applied, the inflamed region frequently becomes white. Flea bites are most commonly seen around the ankles, waistline, underarms, and in the creases of the knees and elbows.

If you have any bites, wash them with water and soap and pat them dry. Applying calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream will help ease the itching. If the bites are inflamed or irritating, applying cold compresses might also be of use. Flea shampoos and other flea treatments can be used on pets to eliminate fleas successfully.

Utilize insecticide sprays, foggers, or powders to clean all carpets and pet bedding thoroughly. Always be sure to follow guidelines. Because of the hazardous fumes produced by certain items, you are not permitted to re-enter the house for a few hours after using those products.

3. Bugs in The Bed

These little oval insects feed on blood. Evening and overnight are when they are most active, in particular, making their homes in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and carpeting. Their bites are painless, but they leave behind tiny bumps on the skin that are either flat or elevated, and they tend to line up in rows. Bites are most frequently detected on the face, hands, arms, and neck.

They induce inflammation, swelling, and a severe itching sensation. Itching can be alleviated with the use of steroid creams or the ingestion of oral antihistamines like Benadryl. Bed bugs may be eradicated from the home by professionals that specialize in pest management.

4. Lice

Lice are parasites with a flattened body, are roughly the size of chia seed, and range in color from tan to a whitish-gray. In addition to other body areas, they could be seen on the scalp and in the pubic region. Eggs ranging from yellow to white are laid by them, and they are frequently discovered clinging to the body hair.

The bites result in a severe itching sensation and leave behind little red lumps with a pinkish hue on the skin. You may get rid of the head and pubic lice by shaving the afflicted region or by using shampoos or lotions sold over-the-counter specifically for lice. When trying to get rid of body lice, practicing proper hygiene and often changing clothes might be helpful.

Lice may also dwell on clothing, towels, and bedding; thus, it is important to wash these items in hot water and dry them on the washing machine’s hot cycle. People must be checked for lice if they have been in close touch with someone who has lice.

Also Read: Do Those Living with Dementia Sleep a Lot?

5. Mosquitoes And Ants

If the person you care about has been outside recently, they may have been bitten by mosquitoes or ants. After washing the area with water and soap, pat it dry. Itch relief can be achieved by applying calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Swelling and irritation can be reduced by applying ice packs to the affected area.

6. Scabies

These microscopic parasites sometimes referred to as itch mites, enter beneath the skin to live and reproduce. The most common locations are the wrist, armpit, elbows, waist, hips, groin, and in between the fingers. The bites produce acute itching, particularly at night, and a rash that resembles pimples on the affected region.

Additionally, you may observe red, elevated burrows or footprints on the skin. Scabies is infectious and is easily transmitted by extended skin-to-skin contact. If you suspect scabies cause your loved one’s itching and picking, you must obtain a prescription from a medical professional. Use cold, moist washcloths to alleviate the itch. Calamine lotion could also help.

Moreover, wash all clothing, blankets, and towels in hot, soapy water and tumble dry on high heat.

7. Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot)

This rash, which is often red, scaly, and irritating, typically develops between the toes. Additionally, it can spread to the entire affected foot. People who have sweaty feet and wear too tight shoes are more likely to have this condition. It can be passed from person to person if footwear, clothing, or towels are shared or if an infected person walks barefoot on dirty floors or carpets.

Make use of antifungal lotions, sprays, or powders that are available without a prescription in order to treat it. Maintain dry skin on the feet, particularly in the areas between the toes.

8. Candidiasis

This rash is irritating and bright red, and it tends to be especially red around the edges. It is most common in damp places, such as the underarms, the region beneath the breasts, the stomach folds, the inner thighs, the buttocks, and the groin. In addition, a yeast-like fungus brings on this condition. 

It could worsen if the person you care about sweats a lot and doesn’t wash or change their clothes too often. Use an anti-yeast cream, keep the affected region clean and dry, expose it to air, and you should notice an improvement in the rash’s symptoms. In addition to antibiotics and steroids like prednisone, the growth of the fungus can be stimulated by some steroids.

9. The Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)

This begins on the skin as an area that is scaly, itchy, and red. After that, the boundaries come up and develop somewhat to form a ring-shaped structure. It’s possible that the region inside the ring will be clean, scaly, or have a few red lumps dispersed throughout. There may be more than a ring, and they could overlap.

This virus is transmitted by direct, prolonged skin contact with an infected human or animal. To get rid of it, use an antimicrobial lotion or cream that may be purchased over-the-counter.

10. Allergies

Another typical factor that might bring on itching and scratching is allergic reactions. For example, someone allergic to drugs or foods may experience itching and scratching all over their body. Those who have allergies and come into contact with an allergen will develop a rash at the location of the initial encounter.

The person you care about may have a disease that causes them to scratch or pick at their body, even if you can’t figure out why they do it. They may use it as a kind of self-soothing or distraction. People who do this aren’t often upset, but they can get hurt.

Because Alzheimer’s disease causes changes in a person’s mental process, your loved one may not practice proper personal hygiene. Scratching and itching of the skin may result from this.

Prevention Of Itching

Keeping their hands busy might be of assistance if you suspect that the itching your loved one is engaging in is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Give them something to hold that is secure, such as a washcloth, a busy quilt, or a compact softball that they can squeeze.

You might even offer them something that is related to their occupation or a pastime that they like doing in their spare time. For example, it may be helpful to cut the nails short, wrap the spot with a cotton bandage, or even have them wear long-sleeved clothes that really are hard to roll up or unbutton.

Assist the person you care about with their personal hygiene. They should wash their bodies with unscented, mild soap once every other day. After taking a bath or shower, apply an appropriate moisturizing lotion, cream, or ointment, and do so on an as-needed basis. Steer them away from anything that might trigger their allergies.

Medications by prescription might be helpful if they scratch and pick their skin often. Consult with their doctor for more guidance.


Alzheimer’s disease is far more than a simple case of forgetfulness. People who are beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia sometimes forget even the smallest details, such as how they felt only a few minutes ago. When their skin becomes itchy, they may scratch it until it bleeds, even though this might cause further irritation. They need to be reminded of this, and they should be prevented from itching themselves too vigorously.

It’s possible that your loved one may not have Alzheimer’s disease and itching simultaneously, but if they do, it can be quite upsetting to see them go through the routines of daily life while the condition hinders them. Nevertheless, even though they forget things, all they want is your love and care.

Wear a pair of disposable gloves whenever you clean or dress a wound that your loved one has caused by scratching or picking at their skin. Always remember to clean your hands before and after touching the affected area. If they have parasites or a fungal illness, you should avoid touching the spot with your bare skin and instead put on some disposable gloves.

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