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Itchy Chin And Neck: What’s The Deal?

Do you experience an itchy chin and neck prior to or during asthma attacks? If so, you may not be alone. In fact, the asthma itch has been studied. It also has a name: “Asthma itch.” But, others have referred to it as Prodromal itch.” So, what is asthma itch? Here’s what to know.

What is the asthma itch?

I first experienced it as a small child. My chin and neck would itch. My neck would itch. It would usually precede an asthma attack. It would get worse during asthma attacks. And when the asthma attack subsided, so to would the itch.

In 1985 I spent time at an Asthma Hospital in Denver. A part of my time there was spent in asthma groups. It was me and about 9 other asthmatics my same age. The topic one day was, “Early Warning Symptoms Of Asthma?”

Here we all listed our early warning symptoms. And we compared symptoms. There were some we all experienced, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. But, some symptoms were unusual symptoms. These were symptoms that were not very common. They were symptoms only some of us observed.

And one of those symptoms was “Itchy Chin.”

What is itchy chin when it comes to asthma?

Initially, I thought it was just me. I thought it was unique to me. I did not know others experienced “Itchy Chin.” But, apparently, it was even studied once. In 1975 it was studied by Vaughan and Mackay. In 1979 it was discussed again by A.W. Orr in the article, “Prodromal itching in asthma.”1

So, here It was given a name: “Prodromal Itching.”

What is prodromal itching?  According to Dictionary.com:

“Any early symptom indicating the onset of an attack or disease.”  2

So, basically, it’s an early warning symptom of asthma. It means an asthma attack is impending.

Orr described Prodromal Itch this way:

“The itching itself was described as a transitory sensation, lasting one to two minutes, varying in intensity between a mild tickle in most patients and a severely uncomfortable itch causing marked rubbing of the affected area in an attempt to relieve it.”1

It’s an itch under your skin. The most affected areas

Sometimes I have scratched it. And no matter how much you scratch, you can’t get to the itch. It’s an nsatiable itch. I admit, at times I did this without even thinking about it. And later in the day someone would say,” You have scratches on your neck.”

So, I learned not to scratch. If anything, you learn to rub

What to make of this?

Now that my asthma is controlled I don’t experience this as much. But, occasionally I do experience it. And when I do I know I’m around one of my asthma triggers. Usually it’s an allergen, most notably dust mites and mold spores. I know it’s an early warning sign. I know it’s time to resort to take some action, such as removing myself from the trigger.

This is something I’ve learned from my own asthma experience. I did know that some other asthmatics experience this as well. I did not know until the day of this writing that it was actually observed and studied by researchers. So, it was kind of neat finding that old study. What about you? Have you ever experienced “Asthma Itching” or “Prodromal Itching?” Let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Orr, A.W., “Prodroal itching in asthma,” Journal Of The Royal College Of General Practitioners, 1979, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2159052/pdf/jroyalcgprac00125-0033.pdf, accessed 1/17/18
  2. “Prodrome,” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prodromal, accessed 1/17/18
  3. “Asthma Itch,” Clinical Advisor, https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/advisor-forum/asthmatic-itch/article/117885/, accessed 1/17/19

Comments

  • uwsupergirl
    6 months ago

    My itchiness is at my waist. Severe itching on both sides of waist that won’t satisfy with scratching. My mom also has asthma and her itches are her waist though i do recall some itching in neck area. But a bad attack is always accompanied by that itching at my waist on both sides.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi uwsupergirl and thanks for your post. That’s what’s so neat about this ‘itchiness’ telegraphing a possible asthma attack for people who have this sensation. It’s different for everyone and for some people, it doesn’t occur at all. In some ways you are fortunate since this ‘phenomenon’, as Lyn so aptly called it, let’s you prepare for the expected attack. Thanks for chiming in here with your experience. We appreciate you input. Leon (site moderator)

  • Lyn Harper, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi uwsupergirl – thanks for sharing your experience with this. It’s such an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? But, it’s a bit of a blessing in disguise when it gives you some notice of an impending asthma attack. – Lyn (site moderator)

  • Evelyn
    6 months ago

    The itchy chin is one of my son’s tells, more so when he was younger. He is almost 15 now, and started advair a couple of months ago. It seems to be helping.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi Evelyn and thanks for joining in the conversation here. Glad to hear your son is getting some relief by using Advair. I hope he continues to improve. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • MarthaBP
    6 months ago

    The first symptom I ever experienced was prodromal itching. However, mine starts in the middle of my back (think bottom of the lungs) and then later includes the front of my neck and chin. It is that “under the skin” itching that no amount of scratching will relieve. However, I look on it as a blessing, as this warns me of an impending attack and I can use a rescue inhaler before I even start becoming short of breath to abort it.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    6 months ago

    Hi MarthaBP and thanks for sharing your own personal experience with asthma and it’s telltale symptoms of itching. We do appreciate your input here. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • yawaii42
    7 months ago

    Yes, I get the itchy neck and chin as a warning. I have had it since I was little.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the community. What do you do when you experience this, what resolves it. Just curious. John. Author/ Site Moderator.

  • mml6789
    8 months ago

    I have Samters Triad Syndrome. I had asthma as a child that came back as an adult. I have recently used my rescue inhaler more and more and also suffer the asthma itch. I don’t have the usual wheeze when I’m having an attack. When I breathe in during an attack you can hear the air going into my lungs if that make sense, then soon after I get the itch.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    8 months ago

    No problem about the spelling — we make plenty of speling mistakes ourselves. Sounds like you are you are on the right track to obtaining good asthma control. While we cannot diagnose or give medical advice over the Internet, for your own safety of course. I would highly advise that you talk to your doctor about your fears about taking the medicines you have been prescribed to control your asthma. Often times what we hear about medicines (on TV or over the Internet) can make otherwise safe medicines seem scary to take. However, asthma maintenance medicines are generally considered safe and effective for treating asthma — when they are taken exactly as prescribed. This is important especially when considering they have the potential of helping you obtain the ideal asthma control you deserve. Thoughts? John. Site Moderator.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    8 months ago

    It certainly does make sense. Sorry to hear your asthma came back? Have you and your doctor been able to obtain good control of it? John. Site Moderator. https://asthma.net/living/subgroups-aspirin-sensitive-respiratory-disease-aerd/

  • mml6789
    8 months ago

    Sorry for the typos lol I was in a hurry.

  • mml6789
    8 months ago

    They sent the mucus from my sinuses to pathology from my surgery which confirmed Samters. I was very high in eosinophils. So for now I try to control my symptoms through the Samters diet which is boring and difficult to say the least.

  • mml6789
    8 months ago

    I had sinus surgery last year but for my asthma I just continue to use my rescue inhaler. I’m afraid to sue singular because I’ve read if you are proned to depression that singularity can worsen that. Also I’m afraid of maintenance inhalers because I’ve read that sudden death from asthma is higher when these are used. You have to understand my leeveknof paranoia lol because I’ve experienced anaphylaxis before.

  • FeelingShy
    9 months ago

    Yes, I have had the itch

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi FeelingShy and thanks for chiming in with your comment. We appreciate it.
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Shellzoo
    9 months ago

    My chin would itch and get hives when I was exposed to stuff I am allergic to. Mostly animal dander and nuts. Since finding out I have asthma I notice I need my rescue inhaler shortly after my chin itches. I wonder if the chin itching is more typical with allergic asthma over other types.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    9 months ago

    Hi Shellzoo and thanks for responding to John’s article with an example of your own as to how the itch telegraphs an impending attack. I thought you might also be interested in looking over John’s article about unusual symptoms of asthma: https://asthma.net/living/unusual-asthma-symptoms/. I hope you find it makes interesting reading. Leon (site moderator)

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