What is Scabies?
Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by an infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. This infection causes extremely itchy rash, usually on the fingers, wrists, genital area, elbows, knees and around breasts. The rash is composed of small bumps and blisters filled with pus. Scabies are transmitted in close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
The mite that causes scabies is an eight legged parasite that can not live without a human host longer than 2 to 3 days. In the host, they can survive up to a month. A female mite lays eggs in human skin, which hatch after several days and grow into adult mites. Scabies rash occurs due to an allergic reaction to the mites, their eggs and substances they release under the skin. Scratching causes skin damage and may lead to secondary skin infection when the damaged skin becomes infected with bacteria. Secondary skin infection is usually impetigo, but cellulites may occur too.
Treatment for Scabies
Scabies are commonly treated with prescription topical and oral medications. The most effective treatment for eliminating scabies is 5% perimethrin cream. It is approved to be used in children 2 months of age and older. It has to be applied all over the body, left on over night and than washed off. The treatment is repeated for at least seven days. An alternative treatment is a cream lindane. It has to be applied on the entire body and washed off after eight hours. Lindane is not recommended to be used with children, pregnant and breastfeeding women since it can cause seizures when absorbed through skin. Therapy with lindane should be used only if other therapies are not effective. Oral medicine used in treatment for scabies is Ivermectin but it should be used only when topical medications fail because Ivermectin has toxic side effects. Scabies in adults can be also treated with crotamiton lotion 10% and cream 10% (Eurax, Crotan). Antihistamines, like Diphenhydramine as well as oral or topical steroids can be used to relieve itching.
Natural Cures for Scabies
Scabies can also be treated with different natural remedies.
St. John’s Wort can be used to treat itching caused by scabies. Stems of the herb should be soaked in evening primrose oil and applied on affected areas.
Onion can also help in treatment of scabies due to quercetin, a substance it contains, which works by soothing the skin. Concoction can be prepared of six onions boiled in a quart of water boiled for half an hour. The concoction should be applied all over the body.
Neem is effective in treatment of scabies because of its antiseptic properties. Neem leaves mixed with turmeric root or powder and mustard oil can be used to prepare a paste to relieve the rash. Paste should be applied on the skin and washed off after half an hour. The treatment can be continued for up to 10 days.
Oatmeal is another popular remedy for scabies. You can relieve scabies itch by adding two spoons of oatmeal into bath water and soak for about half an hour.
Tea tree oil helps to eliminate the parasites due to its antiseptic properties. You can mix tea tree oil with vegetable oil and apply it on the affected areas.