It Isn't Your Imagination: Itching Is Contagious

Scientists have found that much like yawning, itching is contagious. To study the condition known as "itch transmission," dermatologists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine showed subjects videos of someone scratching, which wound up making them itchier. Even when drops of a liquid that induces itching were placed on volunteers' skin while watching the videos, they just scratched more in random spots, not where the drops were.

Lead researcher Dr Gil Yosipovitch says, "Although it's a well-known sensation and dermatologists often feel itchy after seeing their patients scratch, contagious itch has not been studied systematically at all." Well, that's comforting. We've all probably wondered about this at some point, but we're glad scientists are more focused on curing diseases than satisfying our curiosity about itching.


The study found that the brain becomes hypersensitive when we see images of someone else scratching, so it misinterprets any physical sensation as itchiness. Please note: There are plenty of stock photos of people scratching, but this post contains no image as a personal favor to you.

Itching Really Can Be Contagious Scientists Prove [Telegraph]

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Sorcia MacNasty

Just reading this makes me want to slather myself down in calomine lotion. I can get itchy just hearing the word "ant" or "dander." Ugh!