Constant picking of skin

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by yorkie46, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. yorkie46

    yorkie46 Registered User

    Jan 28, 2014
    Does anyone have experience of constant picking and scratching? My husband has sore marks on his hands and firearms which he has had for several weeks. At first he told me they were from where the canula was in his arm when he was in hospital in July, then his shorthand they were goes bites because he thinks the cat has fleas. We saw the doctor who wasn't convinced they were bites and have him some cream for them. Since then he spends most of his day altogether a small pair of scissors or tweezers constantly picking or scratching or pulling the hairs out of his arms. He puts the cream on them I see him putting germolene on too! If I say anything he gets cross and tells me not to keep on its his body. I said we'll it will be your body when they're all septic then. I spoke to the doctor when I had an appointment and before I could tell her she said is he picking? She just said it's very common and told me for the umpteenth time that I'm doing a great job looking after him! That doesn't help. She said just make sure they don't get infected. I've now told him I've made him another appointment to see the doctor and I intend dropping a note in for her before the appointment. I'm just wondering if there is anything she can give him to stop him doing it. I think it is largely down to boredom because he does nothing but watch tv all day. I tried to encourage him to do something else with his hands but he's not interested. I'm also worried that If I keep saying anything he will start getting angry again. He has frontal lobe dementia and anger was a huge problem before his diagnosis. This has been reduced to virtually nothing with sertreline and I wonder if the dose could be increased. In July he had pneumonia and sepsis so I worry about infection. He is also type 2diabetic so everything takes longer to heal. Sorry to ramble! Any suggestions or information gratefully received.
  2. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    Hi,Has he had his blood sugars tested lately?Also have they checked him for CKD as the itching can be due to kidney disease and blood sugars..
    My dad is diabetic type 2 and has CKD .Diabetics are more prone to this than anybody else.
  3. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    @yorkie46 My dad picks his scalp and I can't stop him. He has started to pick with both hands now. I have tried creams and shampoo but nothing stops him. He does it when we are watching TV I have tried commenting but he denies it.

    He is doing it now while I am typing this and he is almost asleep at the same time. I can't advise because I have found no remedy but I sympathise with you. Dad is obsessed with his hair and thinks he still has a lot but in reality it is very thin and I can see that his scalp is covered in little scabs. If he is not picking, he is combing his hair.

    I think it is part of the disease.
  4. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    My wife exhibits this symptom and it has taken a lot of time and a multi faceted approach to get it under control.

    The first thing I did was suggest to the GP that it was a symptom of anxiety and had her anxiety meds increased - that helped a little, but only for a while.

    The next thing was eternal vigilance on my part to stop her dong it. That also helped a little.

    The third thing was a script from the GP for a combined antibiotic & steroid cream to prevent infection and aid healing, along with an antihistamine to stop any itch from scabs. I also bandaged the worst areas.

    It took a long time but the position is now well improved.
  5. yorkie46

    yorkie46 Registered User

    Jan 28, 2014
    Thanks TNJJ. He recently had a review of his diabetes with the nurse. His blood sugars were higher than they had been for some time but this was largely due to the hospital having reduced all his medication because he was so ill. This has now been increased again and I'm doing random checks at home. His levels now seem to be back to what they used to be. I won't say they're great but within reasonable limits. This problem seems to have started since we saw the nurse and his sugar levels were high before that so I'm not sure if it's related but I will check with the doctor. The nurse started talking about the possibility of needing insulin if his levels didn't come down but I really don't want to have to go down that road. I'm her opinion it was no big deal and I said it wouldn't be for him but it's me that would have to deal with it because he can't, he can't even check his levels himself now.
    Yes Duggies-girl, he also picks at his scalp!
    Thanks karaokePete, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to bandage them because he gets annoyed that I even mention anything to him about not picking at them. The only hope would be If the doctor said they had to be bandaged. He has been given the antibiotic and steroid cream which he has used in them. He is able to do this himself still so it makes it more difficult for me to take over. I just try to make sure they're not infected.
    we see the doctor on 2nd December so hope she has more suggestions.
  6. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    My dad used to pick at a scab on his leg and nothing would stop him. The district nurse was called eventually as it got infected but dad just peeled off the dressing and carried on picking. There was often a rivulet of blood down his leg. Nothing we could think of would stop him and he couldn’t even see the scab - just used to roll up his trouser leg and start picking.

    Sorry, no help at all I know!

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