Scabies (scabies) is a disease caused by small mites (“Sarcoptes scabiei”) that survive on the skin, causing the patient to have an itchy, red, scaly rash. Yes, you got goosebumps just thinking about it, but don't be embarrassed if you end up contracting this condition; any individual can be affected and it has nothing to do with poor hygiene. It can be treated and should improve within a week after proper therapy, usually with benzyl benzoate cream, which kills parasites and combats skin irritation. If you want to try an at-home method, it is important to know that they are not as reliable as benzyl benzoate creams, but some may work. Before trying them, go to your doctor to confirm scabies, and then review the possible home methods you will use.
Method 1 of 3: Using Topical Treatments
It is not surprising that you want to get rid of scabies as soon as possible to return to normal life. Doctors recommend creams with benzyl benzoate to perform the most effective therapy and attack mites; still, studies show that there are natural remedies that can work well. After confirming the diagnosis, test some topical treatment to see if there is any effect. Otherwise, you will need to use medication in cream form.
Step 1. Use aloe gel to use a natural and effective technique
A small study has shown that aloe vera gel can be as effective as mite treatment creams, promising to be a good natural alternative. Try applying the aloe vera in its pure state, directly on the skin irritation, and see if there are results.
The study did not specify how long the patients used aloe. Medicated creams only take effect after a week, so keep running the gel for at least that same period
Step 2. Apply tea tree oil cream to the inflamed area
Those with 5 to 6% tea tree have good efficacy against scabies. Apply it once a day for a month and see if the rash improves.
These studies used tea tree oil creams or gels rather than the oil in its pure state. There is no research related to using it in this form
Step 3. Exterminate the mites with clove oil
The solution has chemical components that successfully killed the arachnids in laboratory tests. Pass the liquid over the skin inflammation and let it stand for 24 hours to eliminate them.
Step 4. Try using neem oil for possible treatments
It can also have good effect against parasites after 24 hours; studies show that it is effective at a concentration of 20 mg/mL. Apply the oil to the affected area and leave it there for 24 hours to analyze the results.
Step 5. Don't pour bleach on your skin
There are websites that attest to the effectiveness of bleaches against the troublemakers, exterminating them. The problem is that this product irritates and burns the skin, so its use is not indicated; just leave it for cleaning.
There are also pages that advocate the use of vinegar against mites. It's not as dangerous as bleach, but the results are likely to be unsatisfactory
Step 6. Consult a dermatologist so that he or she prescribes the appropriate medications, especially if home methods do not work
Most of the time, the specialist will prescribe a cream that kills both the mites and the eggs they deposit; just apply the product to the entire body, from the neck down, and let it act for eight to ten hours, as it is possible that the parasites have spread beyond the area with the skin irritation. Depending on the case, giving it once will be enough. Follow the doctor's directions and pass the medication on more times, if necessary, for better results.
- Permethrin is the most common component to treat scabies, most often in cream form. When it doesn't work, doctors prescribe medications with ivermectin.
- As arachnids are easily spread, the dermatologist may ask the other residents of the house to also apply the medicated cream.
Method 2 of 3: Relieving Symptoms
Even if the therapy is successful in fighting the mites, the itching can persist for a few weeks. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait for it to get better on its own for this rash to disappear completely. Luckily, it is possible to control it with simple homemade techniques until the irritation subsides.
Step 1. Keep a cold compress on the itchy parts
The skin will go numb, reducing discomfort. For this, you can wet a cloth or towel with cold water, and leave it on the rash to get relief.
When the inflammation is located in one of the extremities of the body, dip it in cold water instead of applying a compress, if you prefer
Step 2. Prepare a cold bath with oatmeal
This is a great method when the redness covers large parts of the body; fill the bathtub with cold water and sprinkle with oats to treat the skin.
- The water, when too hot, will only further irritate the skin and make the itching worse; use cold water.
- Just a cold bath, without oatmeal, will already offer a little improvement in symptoms.
Step 3. Use an anti-itch cream until the itching stops
Antihistamine creams, such as calamine lotion (Calamyn), reduce this bothersome manifestation until the infection is fully cured. Pass it according to the instructions in the package insert.
Step 4. Take an antihistamine by mouth
Creams may not be enough to minimize itching, requiring such medications to be used. However, always go to a dermatologist to find out if this remedy is really necessary and what is the recommended dosage.
- Some of the most common antihistamines are: loratadine (Claritin), diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Diphenhydrin), cetirizine dihydrochloride (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine hydrochloride (Allegra).
- These remedies can cause drowsiness: do not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking them.
Method 3 of 3: Preventing mite reinfection
Unfortunately, scabies is contagious and mites can spread and attack other people. There is no reason to panic; with a few simple steps, you can protect yourself against them and not let them get caught in your clothes. It takes a little effort and patience, but they are important measures so that nobody gets infected (and you don't suffer from the disease again).
Step 1. Wash all bedding and clothing in hot water
As the mites can lodge in the tissues, there is a risk that they will attack you again even after the treatment has started. Once you start taking steps to fight scabies, gather all bedding and clothing and put it to wash on the hot setting; then pour them into the clothes dryer (also on high temperature). The heat should kill all arachnids.
- Dry cleaning can also work. Just don't forget to tell the laundry that you've contracted scabies so they can take all precautions.
- Anything you haven't touched in over a week should be safe. Parasites cannot survive that long without feeding.
- Continue washing clothes in this way until the scabies completely improves.
Step 2. All your pieces should be washed separately from other residents
Again, this condition is contagious and can be spread by infecting the sheets and clothing of individuals who live with you. Therefore, your clothes need to be separated, even after cleaning, so that there is no risk of contamination.
Step 3. Take a plastic bag, put clothing and bedding in it, and leave it for a week fully sealed if you cannot wash it
Most of the time, mites die after two to three days when they do not have access to a “host”; this method can be used when you want to eliminate them from items that are not so easy to wash, pillows or chair protectors. Just throw them into a plastic bag, close it, and leave it for a week. This should kill all the mites.
If you don't have plastic bags, you can leave the items in a secluded location, such as in a corner of your garage. Nobody should touch them for a few days. It is a good measure to decontaminate large chairs and furniture
Step 4. Vacuum the carpets and furniture in the house
Mites can also lodge on sofas, chairs, rugs and other objects in your home; on the day you start the scabies treatment, clean everything where the parasites can live using a vacuum cleaner.
Like fabrics, objects you haven't touched for more than a week should be free of parasites
Step 5. Avoid physical contact with anyone until you have recovered
Don't sit close, hug, and don't have sex until the disease has been fully treated.
- It is recommended not to share a bed or sofa with anyone, as mites can also spread this way.
- Remember that anyone infected with these mites can take two to four weeks to show any symptoms.
It is normal to be startled to hear that you have scabies, but the condition can be treated easily. Symptoms usually disappear after a week of taking steps to fight the disease. Home remedies may work, so it's okay to use them; however, when you notice that there is no improvement, consult a dermatologist. He will make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate medication. In any case, don't worry; you will recover without any sequel.
- Scabies can spread even in people with good hygiene and who bathe every day. It has nothing to do with lack of cleanliness.
- Don't worry about treating the pets in the house. Parasites that affect humans do not survive in animals.