Why Scratching Feels So Good but is So Bad for your child

Is baby scratching happily?

Scratching. Maybe my baby knows this word better than Daddy or Mommy.

Since about a month old, Marcie started to be able to scratch her head and soon it’s her face, hands, legs and body. Scratching is like a reflex and a relief to itch and studies are still being carried out to understand the science behind it. So far, it seems that by scratching, the nerves trigger the body to release endorphins that makes your baby feels good and block off pain information. Also, scratching damages the itch nerves which take from seconds to hours to be repaired.

BUT Scratching is very bad for your child

Scratching

1. damages the skin barrier, making it more vulnerable to irritant

2. damages the skin cells, causing the cells to release more itch signals

3. causes inflammation and infection

Knowing that scratching is like a reflex and a relief, I stop myself from scolding Marcie for scratching but instead calmly apply my “top 10 tricks to keep baby’s fingers busy“. If you or your child suffers from habitual scratching, you may be interested in the Combined Approach series with Dr Christopher Bridgett.

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Last update was on: 22 October, 2018 3:08 pm
5 Comments
  1. Hi all!
    As an allergist, I must make the case for considering the use of antihistamines in children with atopic dermatitis. The itching is constant. I always ask parents if they have ever had poison ivy. If you have, then you can understand how it feels to have extremely itchy skin. I personally had a bad case of this years ago, and it taught me the meaning of truly itchy skin. That’s a bit what it is like for our kids with AD.
    Antihistamines at therapeutic doses may help provide some relief from the incessant itch.
    Best
    Dr A

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  3. […] Mom: Thanks Dr B for your encouragement. Scratching feels good but is bad for the child. What advice would you give parents to keep their child from […]

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