Scratching the Surface: The Itching Quiz

Staff

About how many square feet of skin does the human body have?

The average human body is covered by about 20 square feet (2 square meters) of skin.

What is the clinical name for itching?

The impulse to scratch a particular spot is known to scientists as "pruritus."

When certain stimuli irritate the skin, they send signals to your cerebral cortex through which route?

The spinal cord relays the information to your brain.

How long does it take for your brain to receive the "itch" message?

In a split second, receptors send a signal through fibers in the skin to the spinal cord and then to the brain.

What did scientists once think itching was a form of?

Experts used to believe that itching was a form of light pain.

The impulse to scratch an itch is meant to achieve what?

Scratching an itch is intended to remove an irritant as soon as possible.

Why does scratching temporarily stop itching?

When you scratch, the signal being sent to your brain that you have an itch is interrupted.

When you scratch, how many nerve endings do you activate?

By scratching an irritant, you trigger more nerve endings than it covers.

What health conditions are known to cause itching?

There are numerous medical causes of itching, including allergies, infections and many diseases.

In addition to skin, what other organ is exposed to constant irritation?

Skin is the only organ that is constantly under the threat of irritants.

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Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

With 20 square feet (2 square meters) of surface area covering the average human body, it's no surprise that skin can get itchy. And when hair, dust or other irritants make contact, there's a lot that has to happen before we respond with an almost reflexive scratch. Take our quiz to find out what goes on under the skin when it itches.

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