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What Are the Different Types of Scabies Remedies?

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  • Originally Written By: Doreen E. Fiorillo
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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There are a couple of different types of scabies remedy, but most fall within the broader “lotions and creams” category. A spreading, itching rash is one of the most common symptoms of a scabies, and topical medication that can be rubbed directly into the affected area is often the first thing most health care professionals recommend. In extreme or very severe cases, oral medications, usually in the form of pills, might also be prescribed. Oral medicines often take a bit longer to be effective, and it’s often the case that people use creams and pills simultaneously in order to maximize relief and healing. In addition to these medically-centered remedies, experts usually also recommend a number of prevention techniques to avoid recurrence. These include washing all sheets and clothing in very hot water and deep cleaning all areas where affected individuals have spent time. The condition is usually highly contagious and can spread quickly between people, so isolation — staying home from school and work, for instance — is usually also wise.

Understanding Scabies Generally

Scabies are microscopic mites that burrow into the skin close to the top layer. They cause relentless itching and skin rash similar to pimples. One of the most common symptoms associated with scabies is intense itching, especially at night. A “pimple” rash most likely will appear on places such as the wrist, elbow, armpit, waist, nipple, buttocks and between the fingers as well as on the penis in males.

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Babies and young children frequently experience the rash on the head, face, neck, palms and soles of the feet. Sometimes, grayish-white lines or burrows appear on the skin between fingers or skin folds. Scabies are highly contagious and are spread anywhere in crowded conditions and when the infected person comes into close contact with another person.

People at a high risk of developing scabies include those who work in or frequently visit hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes. Children from developing countries and people living in crowded conditions are also at risk. Scabies are often diagnosed in young adults who are sexually active. Anyone having a compromised immune system is also vulnerable.

Lotions and Creams

In most cases, the only effective and proven remedies are those prescribed by physicians. Lotions and creams called scabicides are widely used scabies remedies. This medicine kills both mites and their eggs. The most common medication is called permethrin. Lindane is sometimes used as a secondary treatment but is not generally considered safe for infants, pregnant women, or the elderly. Sulfur ointment is a less effective treatment and usually reserved to treat infants who cannot be treated with more powerful ointments or creams.

These types of scabies remedies should be applied over all areas of the body, from the neck to the toes. Children require application to the head, as well. Community health experts usually recommend that everyone who has had close contact with an infected person receive treatment, and that treatment should be simultaneous so that a reinfestation does not occur.

Oral Pills

Ivermectin pills are sometimes used to paralyze and kill scabies from the inside out. These work by targeting the mites underneath the skin through the bloodstream, whereas creams do the same from the outer layers of the skin. They tend to be more uniformly effective, but can take some time to begin working and also come with more side effects and risks. People who have had scabies for awhile and have scratched the bites to the point of infection and inflammation may also require an antibiotic.

Preventing Recurrence

Even the best scabies remedy can’t prevent recurrence, though, and the mites often prove somewhat resilient and can live for some time in places like bed sheets and clothing. As such, it’s very important for people to thoroughly wash and disinfect all clothing, linens and bedding used by the infected person once the infestation has cleared. Lice bedding spray can be used with caution on surfaces that can’t be washed. It also is important for a person with scabies to not have close or sexual contact with others until the condition is no longer present.

Importance of a Prompt Diagnosis

In most cases, the sooner a person begins treatment the less chance he or she will have of spreading the problem and the easier it will be to get rid of. A physician can accurately diagnose scabies by examining a skin scraping under a microscope and identifying the mites themselves, their eggs, or their fecal matter. There are some instances when none of these are present after the skin scraping analysis, but scabies are still present. In these cases medicated lotions or creams are usually started and, if nothing improves, more tests may be required.

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