Scabies, or Sarcoptes Scabiei, is a common contagious disease caused by a tiny 8-legged parasite known as an itch mite. Although many think that a scabies infection is caused from poor hygiene, it is actually transmitted from one person to another by direct contact and anyone in any environment can catch it if they come in direct skin contact with someone who already has it. According to the Centers fro Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scabies can occur anywhere in the world and can affect people regardless of their social status or race. It is often seen in institutions such as nursing homes and prisons or other facilities where there may be crowded conditions and close body contact.
The female itch mite infests a human host by burrowing or crawling under the skin to lay her eggs. This causes a red, pimple-like raised rash that has a rough, grainy appearance. The burrowing also causes small tunnels which look like little lines in the affected area. The scabies rash appears in certain concentrated areas of the body including the web of the fingers and toes, the wrists, the back of the elbows, the knees, around the waist, under the arms, on the sides and soles of the feet, in the genital area, under the breasts and on the buttocks. Infants can have the rash on their face and scalp as well.
The most prominent symptom of the infestation is its intense itching which develops in the area usually about two to six weeks after the infestation. The itching worsens during the night and after taking a hot shower. The goal of the treatment for scabies is to kill the mites and the eggs and heal the affected skin. Scabies can be treated with prescribed medication but you can also treat it by using some of the following home remedies.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has been known to be effective for scabies as well as for other skin conditions. It works by killing the parasite and eggs and also relieves the itching. It has been found to reduce inflammation at the rash sites and promotes healing. Add about 10-20 drops of tea tree oil to a warm (not hot) bath once or twice daily. You can also apply it locally to the rash areas, especially at bedtime since the itching is usually most intense during the night. It is recommended to continue tea tree oil treatment for several weeks.
Neem oil with Tumeric powder
Neem oil is also helpful in treating scabies. Neem oil has been around for centuries, used as a traditional home remedy in India and Burma. Neem oil will get rid of the mites and help reduce the inflammation in the areas of the rash. It also decreases pain by having a numbing, soothing effect on the skin. If using Neem oil, add a tablespoonful into a warm bath and bathe twice daily. You can also make a Neem paste by crushing fresh Neem leaves with water. Neem powder is also available and can be mixed with olive oil or water to make the paste. Add a small amount of Tumeric powder to the paste. Tumeric is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it set for about 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Be aware that the yellow color of the Tumeric powder will probably stain your skin and clothing.
Onions have many medicinal properties and can be used to help ease the symptoms caused from scabies. Take a raw onion and mix it in olive oil. Rub it onto the affected areas, being careful not to allow the mixture to get on your unaffected skin. Leave it in place as long as you can
Lavender oil and alcohol
A mixture of pure lavender oil and alcohol, if applied to the skin in substantial amounts, kills the scabies mites and reduces the infection. Be sure to apply enough of the mixture to saturate the affected area. The combination of these two ingredients will help relieve the itching and soothe the skin.
Although the oatmeal itself won’t kill the scabies mites it will help the itching. Take an oatmeal bath in cool or cold water. Avoid using hot water. After you bathe apply an anti-itch lotion such as calamine lotion.
1) Scabies is highly contagious, so everyone in the home should receive the same treatment, even if they are not showing any symptoms.
2) Keep everything in the house clean, i.e., vacuum all rooms, washing off countertops, door handles, etc. Wash the linens and beddings frequently in as hottest water possible and launder all recently worn clothing every day.
3) Remember that scabies is transmitted by skin to skin contact, so be aware that this would include sexual contact.
Be diligent in your fight against scabies. With daily persistent use of these home remedies the infestation should clear within 2-3 weeks. However, do see your physician if your symptoms do not improve.