What Does It Mean When Your Left Hand Itches?

mean-left-hand-itches Credit: LEA PATERSON/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

There are varying beliefs and superstitions concerning an itch on the left hand. According to Italian superstition, an itch on the left hand is a sign of coming into money. An old wives' tale claims that an itch on the left hand indicates a forthcoming letter, and yet another superstitious belief holds that if the left palm itches, money is about to leave an individual's hands.


Other Itching Hand Superstitions

In contrast, if someone's right palm itches, the same old wives' tale holds that the individual is set to receive money. However, an itch on the right hand is generally seen as a bad omen. One old wives' tale warns that it is a sign of poverty while another views it as the harbinger of a handshake from a fool.

The secrets of the future are not regarded as the exclusive domain of adult hands in superstitious folk belief. In deference to one of these myths, superstitious people place silver coins in their babies' hands. If the child lets go of the coin, it is believed to signal a lifetime of struggling to hold on to money. Even the famed French baguette is not immune to superstition, handing over bread the wrong way up is still believed to be a harbinger of ill fortune.

Health Reasons for Left Hand Itching

Aside from superstitions, there could be medical reasons for a hand to be itchy, regardless of whether or not it's your left or right hand. Itchy palms could be more related to common skin conditions or a more serious issue. Four common medical reasons for a pestering itch could be hand eczema, diabetes, allergic reactions, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

The National Eczema Association states that, in the United States, close to 10 percent of the population suffers from eczema. Eczema flare-ups can be triggered by working in professions like cleaning, healthcare, mechanical jobs, or jobs where you touch chemicals throughout the day.

Sometimes, one of the first signs of diabetes is itchy skin. Itchy skin can be caused by dry skin or poor circulation as well as a yeast infection. All of these have been related to diabetes. Although the itchiest areas are known to be the lower legs, you may also experience the itchiness in your hands.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one of the most common substances that can cause an allergic skin reaction is nickel. Nickel can be found in products like sunglasses, jewelry, zippers, and buckles. Although Nickel is the most common, any chemical or food could cause this type of reaction. Sometimes these reactions don't occur until 48 to 96 hours after contact with an allergen, making it hard to pinpoint the culprit. 

A final common medical reason for itchy hands could be carpal tunnel syndrome. The pressure on the median nerve in the hand can result in itching or discomfort, typically occurring in the evening. According to the American College of Rheumatology, carpal tunnel affects between four and 10 million Americans and is usually very treatable.