Do’s and Don’ts: Scratching Under an Itchy Cast

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Broken bones are a part of life and there is no easy way to protect your child from these injuries as they explore the world. Many parents agree, however, that watching their children go crazy from the itchiness beneath the cast is a far worse suffering than the break itself!

It’s a difficult situation with no guaranteed solution, but there are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind before you risk any regrettable mistakes. Here is an essential list to get you started:

Do: Use a Hairdryer

One of the most popular methods of itch alleviation is to use a hairdryer. Switch to the cool setting and let the air blow directly on the area or down into the casting. This sensation may combat the itchiness while drying out any irritating moisture. But be careful! Hot air could aggravate the problem or even burn the skin, so always check the temperature first.

Do Not: Stick Anything Down There

This may be the most tempting of resolutions, but it’s also very dangerous. If you accidentally scratch the skin, an infection may develop, which could go unnoticed until it becomes an emergency. And it will itch even more! You might also lose an item down the cast, which could require a full recasting to remove. In times of critical damage (such as a serious knee injury or a severe wrist fracture), this could drastically set back your recovery time.

Do: Use an Ice Pack

By applying a freezing cold sensation to the irritated area, you may be able to overpower the itchiness and find a place of relief. An unopened bag of frozen vegetables will also do the trick. One word of caution, however, is that you must prevent any liquid from leaking into the cast, otherwise you could annoy the skin even more.

Do: Tap the Cast

Another unobtrusive method to hopefully disrupt these frustrating tingles is to use the power of vibrations. Gently tap around the cast with a wooden spoon, and these tiny reverberations could be the solution you are looking for. Obviously one must be cautious not to knock too hard as we are still dealing with an intense injury here.

Do Not: Use Excessive Powders

There are some conflicting opinions about the use of lotions and powders when it comes to an itchy cast situation. Many rightfully point out that these products dry the skin’s sweat, which is often the primary cause of said itching anyway. However, when your skin is sensitive, the introduction of powder can result in sores and aggressive irritations. If you are at your wit’s end, experiment with this route sparingly to test how your body reacts first.

Do: Keep Your Cast Dry

Moisture caught between the cast and the skin is exactly what you want to avoid here, hence why it makes sense to keep this area as dry as possible. Use duct tape to secure plastic around the injured limb during rain or a shower and stay out of hot weather to avoid excess sweat if at all possible.

Do: Massage Around the Opening
Without giving in to the temptation of scratching inside the cast, try to find relief by manipulating the skin around the opening. If nothing else, this can support the circulation while also redirecting any attention away from the itch. But remember, if something hurts, then stop immediately.

Don’t: Cause Any Damage

This should go without saying, but whatever you do, do not mess with the cast. Do not pick at it, pull on it, tear it, or even trim the ends. You may accidentally warp the covering and this could hinder the recovery process far worse than any itchiness.

Do: Keep it Clean

Any loose materials stuck down the cast can cause skin problems. All it takes is one grain of sand or rice to scratch the skin and fire off an intense itchiness. Be sure to keep an eye on the opening and always brush away any crumbs or foreign objects, no matter how small.

Do: Speak to Your Doctor

If things become unbearable, talk to a medical professional about recommended antihistamines. Many people find great relief from Benadryl, but this medicine is known to cause drowsiness and may not be ideal for everyday use.

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