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Discuss Why are we born with an itch/scratch reflex?


Registered Member
Not exactly sure where to post this thread. I don't see any subheading for body or etc. discussion questions. If this is not an appropriate place mods please feel free to move it.

Yeah, it feels good, I know. But why weren't we born with an itch/rub reflex instead? I mean, I just got a mosquito bite, it itched so I scratched it. That did not make the itching go away though. It just made it worse because scratching it merely put my dirty fingernails in contact with it and that made it worse.

If we just rub the itch though, it has the same "feels good" effect and it does not infect the bite and make the itching last even longer.

Maybe an itch/lick reflex would be even better. If I get a mosquito bite and lick it - assuming that I can reach the spot - then it makes it feel best. In addition, the medicinal contents of the saliva make the itch of an insect bite disappear faster than anything else.

So, why are human beings born with that itch/scratch reflex? Any ideas, theories, good reasons that you can think of?


The only thing I can think of is that maybe if something like a bug lands on our skin and we feel it then scratch at it then we can scratch the bug off. It would be a way of preventing things from happening if you do it early enough. Once the bite is already there though then I have nothing. As you said scratching makes us feel good, but generally makes situations worse so it doesn't make too much sense.


Well-Known Member
We lose the oral fixation sometime in our infancy. We grow out of this pretty quickly.

It's an interesting question to be sure. I think it's because most of us can reach any part of our bodies with our hands. Usually an itch is just a slight irritation, scratching isn't the best but it does fix the problem.


Free Spirit
Staff member
Mosquito bites itch because their saliva irritates our skin. Its a mild allergic reaction. Sometimes when I am bitten if it bothers me too much I will put anti itch creme on it. If I didn't sometimes I would keep scratching until it bleeds.