Among the most common skin infestations in the world today is scabies. Just like many other skin problems, scabies can be highly contagious. In fact, it is advised that anyone close to a scabies patient get necessary treatment even if they have not suffered the infestation themselves. Its spread is encouraged by the sharing of clothing and bedding. Skin contact also accounts for a good percentage of the spread of scabies.
Effective scabies treatment remedies are easily available in hospitals. Note that scabies is not a disease caused by microorganisms. For this reason, it is not practical to develop oral medications to get rid of it. Instead, topical creams and lotions are usually made use of. Most of these require that a prescription is first received from a doctor. In this article, you will learn about the available over the counter, medical and home treatment remedies for scabies.
What is scabies; definition of scabies
Scabies belongs to a class of contagious skin infestations. A small mite of the genus Sarcoptes is responsible for this infestation. The mite wholly depends on humans to get through its life cycle. At first, these mites lay their eggs on the part of skin they have infested. Eventually, the eggs will hatch and the mites will continue to spend the rest of their life cycle on the infested individual.
It is the fact that these mites can be easily transferred from one person to another, and so the spread of scabies is very common. In fact, scabies transmission is most common in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools and orphanages.
A more severe form of scabies, known as Norwegian scabies, is common in people with weak immune systems. This can be caused by malnutrition or old age. As it is to be expected, this from of scabies is harder to treat.
The particular mite that causes scabies in humans is not transferred from animals. In any discussion of scabies you encounter, it probably will be talking about scabies in humans. This is an important piece of information to know before learning how to get rid of scabies.
Scabies symptoms in humans
There are several specific symptoms in humans that will alert you to the presence of scabies. All the same, the symptoms may take some time to manifest. In fact, it can take up to a month and a half to start noticing the first symptoms after exposure to scabies. The symptoms include:
- Itching –This is not at all the normal itching you might be used to. It is intense and the more you try to get rid of it, the more it keeps coming back. The situation worsens at night.
- Rash – Rashes will start to develop in the wake of attempting to scratch the itch. They get more widespread with time.
- Sores – These result from constant scratching. With time and more scratching, the sores may open and become infected.
- Burrows on skin – You may notice some small burrow-like patterns in parts any folded parts of your skin. These burrows are not easily identifiable. It is for this reason that you should have cases of severe itching and a bumpy feel on your skin checked by a doctor.
- Skin bumps – These bumps are small and usually red. With time, they may develop further to form small skin blisters.
The above scabies symptoms in humans mostly occur in the following areas:
- Between fingers
- Genital areas
- Below breasts
- Upper part of the elbow
- On Penis
- On face
There are many images of scabies available. It’s a good idea to browse through such galleries, just to be clear on what a scabies infestation looks like. The fact is that attacks may range and change quickly, especially with toddlers and the elderly. Also, infestations may vary in their severity in response to the parts of the body affected.
Best medication for scabies treatment
A scabies infestation can be eradicated with prescribed medication. Using over the counter medication for scabies treatment is highly discouraged. As pointed out earlier, scabies are highly contagious. This means that using over the counter medication may leave some cases untreated.
According to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control in the US, over the counter remedies will not completely get rid of a scabies infestation. However, home treatment by caregivers is allowed, especially in cases where the infestation is not that severe.
Scabies is usually treated using a prescribed cream. The cream is applied on the affected areas, which in turn kills off the mites which cause scabies. Such creams come in specific percentages of concentration. It is for this reason why it is not advisable to purchase them over the counter. Commonly prescribed medications include:
- Permethrin cream
- Sulfur ointment
- Lindane lotion
- Crotamiton cream
- Benzoate lotion
As you can see from their names, these medications are either in the form of a cream or a lotion. Your doctor will prescribe the best cream or lotion after examining your case. In addition, you may be provided with additional medications to help relieve the itch or the swelling. For some extreme infestations, you will be provided with antibiotics to control any occurrence of bacterial infestation through the open sores.
In some rare cases, ivermectin can be prescribed. This is a pill that is taken orally and only comes into play in most extreme cases of a scabies infestation. The best thing is to approach a doctor and get the necessary directions. For example, most patients report having worsened effects during the first day of using prescribed medication. This situation changes significantly with continued use of the medication.
How to get rid of scabies with home remedies
Various home remedies have been suggested as effective home treatments for scabies. However, most of these remedies only seek to reduce the effects of the scabies mites’ infestations. To have the condition cleared away once and for all, it is best that you get medically prescribed medications. This is also recommended for all family members or people you may have come into direct contact with. The fact is that scabies mites can survive up to 3 months outside a human body.
Below are some of the most popular home remedies for curing scabies:
- Tea tree oil – A common candidate in lists of best oils for skin tags, tea tree oil is also a scabies home treatment remedy. In fact, it is one of the few home treatment remedies that actually kill the scabies-causing mite. You can safely apply tea tree oil on the face or even on the penis.
- Cayenne pepper – Mainly works by reducing the intensity of the pain and itching experienced. Some of its loyal users claim that it can kill the scabies mite. This claim, however, is not backed by any scientific findings. Be careful when using this product, as it can cause burning to the applied areas.
- Neem oil – This home treatment oil for scabies is popular for its abilities to slow down the spread and growth of the scabies mite. The best thing is that it has fewer if any side effects and can thus be applied on sensitive areas like on the face or on the penis.
- Turmeric – The anti-inflammatory abilities of turmeric make it a good candidate for scabies treatment home remedies. Although it does not kill the scabies mite, it helps alleviate scabies symptoms in humans.
How to get rid of scabies in humans with over the counter medication
Earlier in this article, we explained the reasons as to why over the counter medications are not typically available or effective. However, scabies infestations and transmission can be lessened through the use of various over the counter products.
- Disinfectant soap – Constant application of disinfectant soap and soaking the infected areas with cold water can help ease the symptoms of scabies. You will not need a prescription to get such products.
- Creams and lotions – It doesn’t have to be a cream or a lotion specifically meant to heal scabies. There are various over the counter creams and lotions that can be applied to itching or scaly body parts. These ones can block or delay the rate at which the mites find their way to the infested areas. You can even use some of the creams you might use to prevent razor bumps. The idea here is to help relieve pain as well as slow down the mites.
- Antihistamines – These are great remedies to help deal with any allergic reactions that may be arising from the scabies infestation. It will work best if your doctor can advise the best antihistamine for you personally.
All the same, it is important that you also observe good hygienic practices. For example, avoid unnecessarily sharing clothes or bedding. Ensure that you take regular baths and be on the lookout for any of the discussed scabies symptoms. To get a clear image of how scabies infestations appear, search for various pictures of scabies.
Report any cases of scabies outbreak to the relevant authority. This is very important as it helps reduce the rate of spread. To add to that, get medical attention if you have come in close contact with a person you know to be infested by scabies.