Are there any home remedies for scabies that actually work, or do you need to use prescription medications in all cases? This article will consider the causes of scabies and the natural remedies that are available.
What Is Scabies?
Scabies is an intensely itchy skin condition caused by a tiny mite that burrows into the skin and lays its eggs. The itching is caused by our body’s allergic reaction to the mite. The first signs are small, itchy bumps or blisters, usually located on the inner area of the wrists or between the fingers or toes. Scabies is easy to recognize by the pencil-like lines that are caused by the mite passing along just under the skin.
Scabies is usually passed from one person to another by skin on skin contact. It is common in children who can pass it along during normal play. It can be caught by simply holding hands with an infected person. In adults it is sometimes transmitted during sexual activity and in that case may appear in the genital area.
Scratching the area will often break the skin and can lead to bacteria entering and causing other dermatological conditions, for example impetigo.
We can also catch scabies from dogs. The common name for scabies in dogs is mange. If you think your dog has mange, take it to the vet immediately and do not pet it until the condition has cleared.
Feline mange is not transmitted to humans, so you do not need to worry about catching scabies from cats.
Killing Scabies Mites
If think that you or your children have scabies you should see a doctor to have the diagnosis confirmed. A doctor will normally prescribe a cream which will kill the mites if used according to directions. However this medication is harsh and because it must be used all over the body, not only in the affected area, it can cause problems for people with other skin conditions such as eczema.
Keep in mind that the itching will continue for a few days even after the mites have been killed, because their bodies and waste products remain under the skin. If you see no new lines or itchy spots, that is a good sign that the mites may have been destroyed. However, keep watching and treating because any eggs that have been laid may still hatch.
The traditional Indian home remedy for scabies is to make a paste of neem oil and turmeric powder and apply it to the affected area. You can now buy prepared neem oil creams and lotions for scabies treatment.
Tea tree oil is another natural substance that has been used for scabies. You may find a lotion that combines tea tree, neem and turmeric. Tea tree oil can be harsh and should not be used undiluted on the skin.
Tea tree oil can be added to baths. Use 10-20 drops in a warm bath 2-3 times a day. This is a good preventive measure for people who may have had contact with an infected person, plus helping to treat anyone who is infected.
Chamomile lotion can ease the itching of scabies. Where scratching has damaged the skin you may want to use an anti bacterial cream or wash with anti bacterial soap.
Clothes And Other Fabrics
Unlike fleas, scabies mites do not hop. This means that they are less likely to be found in carpets and furniture. However, an infected person should always put on clean clothes after showering and change bed linen every morning or after a nap.
Do Natural Remedies Work?
Natural remedies appear to kill the mites in some cases. However, they work more slowly than the medication that the doctor will prescribe so a person will continue to itch and be infectious for longer if they use only natural remedies on a confirmed case of scabies. Home remedies for scabies may be best used as a preventive measure for other family members who are not yet showing symptoms, or where there is scabies in your child’s school class.