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itching finally fixed - by not bathing
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itching finally fixed - by not bathing

I am on week 22 of incivek triple therapy (UND wk 4).  I had to stop Incevek at 10 weeks due to severe rash (the MD made me stop it, and I was happy to do so).  Starting around 8 weeks into the treatment I developed severe itching, just like what many people have described on this forum.  "Like lying on fiberglass"  "like sleeping with ants".  Nothing worked -- I tried all of the popular treatments described on this forum -- lukewarm baths, cold baths, oatmeal/Aveeno, Gold bond cream (red top green bottle), steroid cream (triamcinolone), Eucerin,  no soap, no detergent, benadryl, Atarax, fine weave cotton, etc etc etc.  Sarna cream (the type with Pramoxine) would help for about an hour, just from the local anesthetic effect, but that would not buy me a full night of sleep.  Overall it was a slow form of torture, I went for about 2 months with very little sleep and in pretty deep misery.
What has worked for me is NOT BATHING.  I read about "aquagenic pruritus", and it pretty much fit my picture.  I stopped taking showers and baths, and just do a "sponge bath" of my groin/butt/armpits every 2 or 3 days.  I use no soap or shampoo, and have several dry towels on hand so I can keep the water confined to the small areas I am washing.  Luckily I did not have the rash on any of these areas (groin/butt/armpits) so it wasn't a problem to wash there.
The itching has 95% stopped.  I still have some unhealed lesions on my shins and legs from the Incivek, and they itch a bit, but it is not a big deal.   I haven't had a full bath or shower in about 5 - 6 weeks, and I have not had an "itch attack" since a few days after the last bathing.
So for people on the forum who are suffering from itching, one thing to try is to go without bathing.  It's not that bad -- my family insists that I don't smell, and I don't think they're just being nice.  It worked so well I cut my hair very short so that it wouldn't feel greasy without shampoo.
Discovering this has made the treatment MUCH more tolerable. I was in tears and desperate when it got bad.

PS - my municipal water supply is "treated" with chlorine, so when I do the sponge baths I let the water stand for 24-48 hours to let the chlorine diffuse out.  Then I heat some of it in the microwave oven, and make a lukewarm mix.  I'm not certain if this help or not, but I am so fearful of another itch attack (they lasted for 2-3 days) that I don't want to risk it.

Good luck everybody.  I hope this helps some members of "Club Itch".  Sorry for the long post -- my brain is foggy.
Tappy.



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Those two months must have been a truly miserable time for you. It's interesting how you ruled out contact dermatitis and determined that's it's in fact an allergy to water. I self diagnosed a skin condition last time around and it actually ended being rather severe and difficult to treat. In my case it was exacerbated by the HCV meds rather than the sole cause. I encourage you to follow through with a dermatologist just to be sure you are on the right track. Again, kudos to you for sticking with treatment. I know just how incapacitating itching can be.
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