Doctors use a 5D scale for itching burn patients - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/18/10

Doctors use a 5D scale for itching burn patients

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Imagine an itch that won't go away and scratching doesn't help.  Chronic itching is a problem for some people, which is why researchers at UT Southwestern in Dallas have developed what they call an itch scale.  Particularly for burn patients because they say in 87% of burn patient's wounds that heal continue to itch, but now, the 5-D itch scale provides a questionnaire that logs the duration, degree and other factors to help doctors better understand and treat an itch.

"Just like with pain, there's not a way to take a picture of itching, so we try to come up with a way to measure it," said Vincent Gabrield, UT Southwestern Burn Spec.  "Most of the time, with a deep burn, it destroys the normal sweat glands and as a result, the scars are very dry and itchy."

Dr. Gabriel says as soon as the itch is measured, they can decide which line of treatment will work best from topical creams to laser treatments or nerve stimulators.  Doctors are also using the 5-D itch scale on HIV patients who often suffer from chronic itching.

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