What is scabies?
Scabies is a condition of the skin caused by mites that burrow in our kinds and cause itching and discomfort on our bodies. The condition is quite contagious and requires proper treatment. You can understand the widespread of this condition by the fact that there are approximately 130 million cases of scabies in the world, at any given time.
What are the symptoms of scabies?
Before we delve into the remedies for scabies, which is the focus point of this article, it is important to understand and recognize scabies. It can take up to six weeks for the symptoms of scabies to appear after you have experienced your initial exposure.
The most common symptoms of scabies that most patients experience, are:
- Red and irritated skin
- Itchiness, extreme in the evening or night time
- Bites or bumps
- Sores from scratching
- Trails at the places the mites are burrowed in the skin
Common body sites where the symptoms of scabies can be prevalent are:
- The area between the fingers
Treatment for scabies
A lot of ointments, creams, lotions as well as oral medications for scabies are available. There are natural home remedies for scabies as well. However, some of them might cause unwarranted side effects, such as redness, burning, swelling on the skin, etc. these symptoms are generally temporary, however, if you want to go for natural remedies for scabies, it is advised that you consult your doctor.
Especially, if you are undergoing any prior medical treatment, or pregnant or breastfeeding women are specifically advised to have a word with their doctor before they go in for any of the given home remedies for scabies.
Home remedies for scabies:
- Tea tree oil:
You might be aware of the popularity of tea tree oil for benefits of the skin, as well as a lot of other uses and remedies. For this very reason, tea tree oil can be quite effective in treating skin rashes and itching. However, it does not work on the underlying concern of the condition i.e. on the eggs deeper in the skin.
Tea tree oil possesses anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can work wonders for the skin. It is also acaricidal (able to kill mites), and antipruritic (relieves itching). Some studies have also suggested the benefits of the oil in the treatment of scabies.
However, you must take care if you seem to develop any allergies by its use and must discontinue immediately.
- Aloe vera:
Aloe vera is like the natural savior to all your skin problems. It has a soothing effect on the skin and can help reduce itching. Small studies have supported the use of aloe vera for treating scabies, without any adverse effects. However, large-scale studies to confirm this are still required.
Neem possesses analgesic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These have great effects on the skin. Additionally, there have been some studies that suggest the ability of neem to kill mites, and hence effective in treating scabies.
- Cayenne pepper:
Next in the list of scabies natural treatments is cayenne pepper. Despite no conclusive evidence to support its use in treating scabies, there is a general belief that cayenne pepper can be helpful for people with scabies. Since it desensitizes the skin, it might help a little with the pain and the itchiness. Hence, it becomes important to consult an expert or your doctor before actually using any of these items.
- Clove oil:
The anesthetic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of clove oil are what make it effective in the treatment of this skin condition. More studies on humans are however needed to give no conclusive statements to this effect.
Other oils that can be used for scabies include lavender, peppermint, ylang-ylang, clove, orange, nutmeg, etc.
It is suggested that turmeric can help alleviate the symptoms of scabies. However, it does not work to treat the underlying cause and hence cannot cure the infestation. Therefore, turmeric alone cannot work as a treatment, it will have to be worked along with something else.
Cleaning your home and your clothes etc. is an important part of this infection. When not on a human host, the mites that cause scabies can survive for up to four days, and hence cleanliness is important to prevent a reinfestation. For this purpose, the following methods can be used:
- Borax: Borax is used in most household cleaning products. Since the safety of it for human use is questionable, it should not be used directly on the skin. However, it can help wash laundry when trying to eliminate the scabies mites.
- Bleach: bleach can also be used as a cleaning product. However, since it is a very harsh chemical, its use on the skin or any contact with the skin must strictly be avoided. It can have damaging effects on the body.
- Vacuuming: vacuuming the house will generally not cure the infestation that is affecting an individual. Vacuuming up any mites that could be in floor coverings will help prevent scabies from spreading to other people.
When should I visit a doctor?
Scabies takes some time to get cured, you cannot expect the rashes to disappear all of a sudden. The itching might take even more time to heal. The natural home remedies for scabies might work for some, while not for others. Also, since some of these remedies lack any kind of scientific evidence, you must always talk to your doctor about whatever treatment you’re taking.
If your symptoms do not seem to disappear, even after some weeks of treatment, you have to see your doctor. Your doctor will prescribe you ointments or maybe any oral medications, as per the gravity of your condition. Practicing healthy habits during your treatment can be of help. You must take proper rest, eat healthy and exercise.
Also, since it is a contagious condition, you must take all proper steps to avoid the spread of infection to others.