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Living with a cast can take some adjustment. Once the pain and swelling subsides, a new problem may arise: itching. The itching under a cast can be intense and uncomfortable. Not only is the itching uncomfortable, but itching the skin using an item like a ruler can lead to infection as well. If the ruler scrapes the skin, the sweat and bacteria that have accumulated on the skin will contaminate the wound, leading to an infection, swelling and even more discomfort. Controlling itching in a cast is key for maintaining comfort.
Pour a generous amount of baby powder into the space between your skin and the cast. You'll want to pour the baby powder into the cast at several locations (i.e., the front of the limb, the back of the limb and on each side of the limb) to ensure equal distribution.
Go outdoors and locate an outdoor power outlet. Plug your hair dryer into the outlet. If no outdoor power outlets are available, run an extension cord outside.
Aim the nozzle of the hair dryer at the space between the skin and the cast and turn on the hair dryer using a low heat or cool setting. This will distribute the baby powder inside the cast. This must be done outdoors, as a puff of excess powder will shoot out of the cast.
Pour baby powder down the opposite end of the cast and repeat step 3. This is not necessary for a short, straight cast. But if the cast is long, or if the cast bends at an angle (i.e., in the case of a cast around the foot and ankle), you may need to pour the baby powder in the other end of the cast so it's distributed through the entire length of the cast.
Wipe away excess baby powder from the skin surrounding the cast using a baby wipe.
Visit your physician if itching persists. Your doctor can provide you with a prescription for antihistamine medication. A strong prescription-strength antihistamine can reduce itching.
Avoid performing these steps if you've been sweating. Sweat results in sticky skin. This makes it difficult to distribute the baby powder. You may wish to wear a face mask to avoid inhaling the baby powder. The baby powder creates a barrier between the skin and the cast; this decreases irritation and itching. Tapping the exterior of the cast can be an effective solution for minor itches.
Never stick an item between your skin and the cast. You'll risk scratching your skin and developing an infection. You may also wrinkle or damage the sleeve that sits beneath the plaster.