"For the last month my fistula site has been itching like crazy, but I am afraid to scratch it because it may become infected. What can I do?" Many people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) who conduct Hemodialysis (HD) experience intense itching both at the time when the needles are put into their arm as well as long after their treatment has ended. You should not scratch an itch on your site as it can easily become infected, but there are other ways to correct the irritation.
If you notice that your AV Fistula site and the area around it are consistently itching, red or your skin begins to peal, you may be suffering an allergic reaction from the tape used. Talk with your Dialysis Staff or Nephrologists about trying a different type of tape. Sometimes the glue on the tape can cause a negative reaction after touching sensitive skin for an extended period of time.
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Although, placing gauze over the needle site has been known to offer a bit of relief, some suggest that hypoallergenic paper tape causes less redness and irritation than its plastic equivalent. Others have noted that sports wrap "does the trick" for them. However, in some cases patients still experience itchiness. If so, talk to your Nephrologists about using Aqueous Cream (moisturizer that is used to treat skin irritation) over the fistual site. It has been said to immediately relieve itchiness.
If you experience irritation while being put onto dialysis you may correct the issue by using Lodicaine Cream or taking Benadryl as prescribed by your Nephrologists. Neuropathic (nerve) pain in your fistula can also feel like an itch or shock if nerves are affected when your fistula is being used. By talking with your healthcare team, you can be prescribed medication, such as Gapapentin, so you no longer experience the issue.
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