Everyone gets an itch once in awhile. Usually it only lasts for a short time and is often caused by annoyances like a mosquito bite or scratchy fabric. However, if an itch lasts for more than six weeks, it is considered a chronic itch and is more likely to disrupt your life. There are many reasons for itchy skin, including eczema, shingles, hives and psoriasis. It could also be a sign of a contagious disease, such as scabies or ringworm. To help soothe itchy skin, dermatologists recommend the following tips. Apply a cold wet cloth or ice pack to the skin that itches for 5 to 10 minutes. Take an oatmeal bath. This can be very soothing, especially for blisters or oozing skin due to chickenpox, hives, poison ivy or sunburn. Moisturize your skin. Choose a moisturizer free of additives, fragrances, and perfumes. Apply cooling agents such as menthol or calamine. You can also place your moisturizer in the refrigerator to help achieve this cooling effect. While you are treating your skin, follow these tips from dermatologists to help prevent your skin from itching. Bathe with luke warm, not hot, water and limit your bath or shower to just 10 minutes. Always use fragrance-free lotions, soaps, and detergents to minimize irritation. Be wary of products labeled unscented, as they still might have chemicals that cause irritation. As directed by your dermatologist, apply medications before moisturizing. Then, apply your moisturizer to all areas of your skin, including areas treated with medication. Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes. Wool and other rough feeling fabrics can irritate your skin, causing intense itching. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Maintain a relatively cool, neutral humidity environment in your house. Use a humidifier during winter if you are prone to dry skin and eczema. Try to reduce stress, as stress can make your itch worse. If your itch does not go away with home treatment, see a board-certified dermatologist. Some people have more than one reason to scratch, and a dermatologist can work with you to find the cause and relieve your itching. To learn more about itch, or find a dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org.