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How to Treat Scabies

Updated on January 17, 2017
salmaguer profile image

I'm Renee, and I'm a mother of two teenage girls. Scabies is more common than you might think; my family has contracted it twice.

What to do for Scabies!

I have dealt with scabies twice in my life, and I want to share what I've learned about effective treatments. In one case, my family struggled with these mites for over 3 months until completely getting rid of them within 2 days. Don't be deceived, there was quite a bit of effort on our part; as in, treating the entire house. But we couldn't be more thankful to be done with the scabies nightmare!

*The treatment of scabies should be taken very seriously. If not done quickly and carefully, you risk re-contaminating yourself, family, friends.

Treating Your Affected Area

Are you scared to try some medications because of the harmful chemicals they use? You should be. Almost all of the medications used to treat scabies contain pesticides which contain carcinogens that can cause cancer. I didn't like the idea of treating my family with chemicals, but we had to do something. We were prescribed both Permethrin & Benzyl Benzoate, neither of which killed them completely. The chemical treatments may have worked for about a day, but then the itching came back with a vengeance! My youngest daughter actually had a small allergic reaction to one of the medications.

Chemical Treatment Options

  • Permethrin cream 5-10% is the most common treatment prescribed by doctors. Permethrin is the same ingredient contained in Frontline, which is a flea & tick treatment for dogs and cats. Scabies mites have become very resistant to this chemical, even mutating from it. I have used this cream before. It worked for a day or two, then the mites would be back. It also made me feel sickly, I assume because it's a harsh chemical.
  • Benzyl Benzoate lotion is prescribed by a doctor. It is not always effective, since scabies mites have become immune to this treatment. You will apply this lotion to entire body for several days between mite life cycles.
  • Ivermectin (Oral) is occasionally prescribed. This is also used for dogs and cats to treat heartworm. This should be an absolute last resort.

Scabies is a serious condition that must be treated effectively or it will continue to worsen and spread to others. What you need is a real solution, not a short-term remedy.

Natural Treatment Options

Most people would prefer a natural treatment to get rid of scabies. The chemical treatments above may contain pesticides, which are known to contain carcinogens. They can be harmful to your health, though in RARE instances they might be your final option. You decide. I have researched and tried many different treatments such as, karanja oil and olive oil. They seemed to kill the first cycle of scabies mites, but it never completely got rid of them.

I found an online scabies forum, just for people who have/had scabies. It was so nice to know that I was not the only one dealing with this. Did you know there are over 3 million cases of scabies a year? Very common. The people were so helpful and understanding. There was a large discussion about the Scabies Relief Report, many saying it was the one thing that got rid of their scabies. I went to the website they were praising and downloaded it right away, hoping I would get the same results. I started the step-by-step plan (super-simple; one trip to the grocery store for a few common items, and I was set to go) at 6:00 in the evening. My oldest daughter starting seeing results by the fourth hour! It was a breeze from that point forward. The Scabies Remedy Report promised we'd be free of scabies within 24 hours; sure enough, we actually were. No more itching! Awesome!!! I recommend Scabies Natural Remedy Report to anyone who is dealing with scabies. I have first-hand experience to know that it actually works the first time. It seriously works!

Aftercare

After your treatment, I recommend using natural products to soothe and heal your skin. I found some great products at Dermisil.com. I got wonderful results from oatmeal baths and anti-itch cream. *This does not kill the mites, but helps relieve your symptoms.

DO NOT apply these products during your treatment, as it can interfere with the effectiveness.

Tests & Diagnosis of Scabies

Normally, a skin scraping should be done to confirm scabies, but if you're sure you have scabies then quickly start treatment to avoid an outbreak. The longer you wait, the worse it will get. You can obtain a skin scraping from any dermatologist. I discovered how to do a self administered scraping. This was a great option for me, since I didn't have health insurance at the time. If you feel more comfortable see a dermatologist, though you may have to wait weeks or months to get a scheduled appointment. I bought a pocket microscope & found out for myself in a few minutes. Its' so easy, all you need to do is dab baby oil on the affected area & scrape it with the glass slide. You can see the mites under the microscope. You might be HORRIFIED when you see them, I know I was, but I knew right away. This is really the fastest way to determine if you have scabies.

Treatment of all members in the household is the key to success. You might want to check with others you have come in close contact with. Be upfront with them, you do not want to re-infect yourself.

Treatment Necessities

You need to wash EVERYTHING in hot, hot water (at least 110 degrees), preferably with borax soap. I used 20 Mule Team Borax, which can be found at your local grocery store or chain stores like Walmart, Target, etc. Dry everything on HIGH HEAT for at least 60 minutes.

You will also need to treat mattresses, sofas, all upholstered furniture & the seats in your car. I used a proven mite disinfecting spray called

BenzaRid, which you can buy online. I suggest the 1 gallon size since you need to treat your mattresses and all upholstered areas. I've also heard

Fossil Shell Dust safely eliminates scabies mites as well, though I haven't tried it.

You will need to wash your bedding daily or use the BenzaRid to kill any mites. Mattress covers work great as well.

Scabiei Mite
Scabiei Mite

What is Scabies?

Scabies is a condition caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites are attracted to the warmth and smell of humans. It is the female mites that burrow into your skin, creating small, threadlike tunnels that can be difficult to see. These scabies mites lay eggs and leave feces in these tunnels.

Scabies usually is spread by close, intimate contact, such as sleeping in the same bed with or touching someone who has scabies. The scabies mite cannot fly or jump, and it moves very slowly.

Scabies mites can live over 30 hours without a human host. The mites may spread to other people during this time through skin-to-skin contact. They can also be transmitted from contact with clothing, bed linens, and other household/personal items.

A mite can burrow very quickly under your skin, especially in rough areas, such as the elbows, knuckles, and knees. Scabies mites can spread to other parts of the body just by touching or scratching an infested area.

A female mite lays about 10 to 25 eggs in her burrows before she dies. These eggs hatch into larvae within 2 to 3 days. The larvae then move to the skin’s surface and become adults within 17 days. This cycle continues until all the mites are dead.

Contagious and incubation periods

Scabies is highly contagious. You can spread mites to other people before and after you have symptoms, and as long as you remain infested and untreated. Several weeks may pass before you have symptoms if this is your first infestation. You are contagious during this time during this incubation period.

If you ever acquire scabies again, it will likely take only 2 or 3 days for you to notice symptoms. The body develops a sensitivity to the mites, their eggs, and their feces in the first few weeks of scabies infestation. An allergic reaction starts after your body has become sensitized, causing severe itching. It is usually safe for your child to return to school or you to work after treatment is completed.

It is vital that the scabies eggs are killed by the first treatment; otherwise they will hatch and cause a re-infestation. Without a scabies treatment, these mites reproduce and cause more sores and more itching. Scabies will not go away by itself.

Repeat infestation

If you have had scabies and are infested again, your symptoms will begin almost immediately. The sensitivity developed during your first exposure triggers an immediate reaction to the mites. Treatment is required again to kill the mites and eggs.

Complications

A bacterial skin infection, such as impetigo, is the most common complication of scabies. These infections most often occur when the skin has been scratched raw. The hair follicles can also become infected; this condition is known as folliculitis. Antibiotics may be needed to treat a bacterial infection of this sort.

In rare cases, persons with a weakened immune system can acquire crusted Norwegian scabies. This is an extreme infestation with tens of thousands of mite. In healthy people, an infestation is usually limited to about 10 or 15 mites.

Watch a Live Scabies

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      Tim 13 months ago

      I've had scabies for a year and half. Currently using Ivermectin and Permethrin. The combo is working but it still takes time. My dermotologists at the VA were useless. they didn't believe me when I said I think I have scabies. I bought a 60x eye loupe which confirmed it. I also brought skin samples that had them to my derm doc but he didnt have time to see anything but the eggs. It was enough though. They, the docs I saw, are ill-equipped and uninformed to deal with scabies--yet it is a highly contagious infection. The proper meds (Ivermectin & Permethrin) should not be Rx either. Should be OTC. They shd both be sold as a pair to deal with it too. Mine is the crusted scabies, which is more difficult to get rid of. Soon , I hope to be rid of them though.

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      rtownsend23 5 years ago

      Hey everyone. I found a lot of useful information here regarding scabies natural remedies. I did some research of my own and found a product that really helps. You can find it here http://www.scabiesbitesonline.com . I am sure that it will help you as well. Have a great day!

    • PamelaU profile image

      PamelaU 5 years ago

      Gross! Helpful lens with interesting information. I've never had scabies, but will know what to do if I'm ever unfortunate enough to get the little blighters!