Scabies Infestation—Now What?
Here are two scary words: scabies infestation. What makes scabies such a headache is the ease in which it is transmitted from person to person and the relentless, terrible itch associated with the rash contracted by a scabies infection.
Scabies are contracted from skin-to-skin contact and leave behind of series of unholy, itchy red blisters and bumps. These little red bumps are so itchy that scratching can lead to a secondary infection, creating a whole new set of problems.
These terrible symptoms can lead to urgency in seeking treatment. Although a scabies infection can only be eradicated with prescribed topical or oral scabicidal drugs, there are several home remedies you can try at home to help relieve the unpleasant symptoms that accompany an infestation.
What are Scabies?
Scabies is an extremely contagious and itchy skin condition caused by the dreaded eight-legged itch mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. These little terrors are a fraction of a millimeter and can burrow into your skin.
This causes an uncomfortable rash of severely itchy red bumps and blisters. Itching is often worse at night, preventing you from getting a decent night’s sleep.
What are the Signs of a Scabies Infestation?
The telltale sign of a scabies infestation is a severely itchy rash of red bumps and blisters.
This rash can occur on several areas of the body, such as the elbows, knees, feet, wrists, around the waist, around the nipples, the shoulder blades, the buttocks, genitals, under the breasts, armpits, and even the webs between the fingers.
Some of the bumps and blisters on the rash may be crusted with dried blood. What makes a scabies rash unique from other skin conditions is that its itch never subsides until the infestation is cleared.
The itch may first appear gradually, only itching slightly the first week of infestation, but from there it will get progressively worse until it is treated.
Who Gets Scabies?
Anyone can get scabies. This highly contagious skin disease does not discriminate between race and age as it easily jumps from person to person via direct skin-to-skin contact. Scabies infestations are quite common, with a reported 3 million cases occurring every year worldwide.
Due to the contagious nature of scabies, epidemics are common, affecting long-term care facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes with rampant infections.
How do you Get Scabies?
Although scabies have a very short lifespan of 24-36 hours on their host, this skin disease is extremely contagious. Prolonged physical contact such as a hug or sexual contact can lead to an infestation.
Home Remedies for Scabies
It is important to start treatment immediately, not only to soothe the painful itch, but to prevent infecting others as well.
Although a scabies infestation can only be treated with prescribed drugs, there are several home remedies you can try at home to help get the symptoms under control and help get some relief.
1) Cool Water
First and foremost, to get immediate relief for painful itching, try soaking the affected area in cool water. This will help soothe the relentless itch while calming the rash down.
After soaking for ten minutes, gently pat the rash dry and apply a layer of calamine lotion directly onto the affected area. A washcloth soaked in cool water is another effective strategy to soothe the painful itch.
2) Neem Oil
This natural pesticide can treat a wide array of skin conditions, particularly scabies. This powerful oil contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help reduce the probability of a secondary infection associated with scratching scabies bumps.
What makes neem oil a great home remedy is that it helps prevent the spread of infection, which can expedite the healing process.
To use neem oil as a home remedy for your scabies infestation, apply pure neem oil directly onto the affected area ten minutes before hopping in the shower or taking a bath. Apply this remedy for several weeks to help prevent the spread of infection.
3) Neem Paste
Crushing neem leaves into a paste can immediately relieve itching while helping to clear the mites out. Loaded with antifungal and antibacterial properties, neem leaves prevent and help eliminate infection.
To make a neem paste, crush several fresh neem leaves using a pestle and mortar. Clean the affected area and apply the paste ten minutes before taking a shower. Use this home remedy daily to help cut the healing time in half.
4) Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, containing anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. This powerful treatment also contains the compound terpinen-4-ol, which will kill the parasite responsible for the scabies outbreak.
On top taking care of the parasite, tea tree oil has wound healing properties that help relieve inflammation. To use tea tree oil on your scabies outbreak, combine one tablespoon of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil.
Dip a fresh cotton ball into this mixture and dab directly onto the affected area. Use this treatment twice daily for three weeks. This home remedy will not only expedite the healing process, but it will also alleviate any swelling, itching, and pain associated with a scabies infestation.
Tea tree oil is not suitable for the use of pregnant women or people with sensitive skin.
Secondary skin infections are a common side effect of scabies infections. A secondary infection can occur when a person scratches their rash and breaks the skin, allowing infection to sneak in.
Using zinc will help inhibit any bacterial or fungal infections from occurring. To use zinc on your scabies outbreak, crush two zinc tablets into a powder. Add a bit of water and stir into a paste. Apply the paste directly onto the affected area and leave on for 30 minutes.
Gently wash off with lukewarm water. Apply this prevention method daily until your scabies infection has healed.
6) Cayenne Pepper
Taking a soothing bath in water treated with cayenne pepper will help kill the mites responsible for the scabies outbreak. To take a cayenne pepper bath, add one cup of cayenne pepper to your hot bath.
Soak in the bath until the water turns cool, taking care not to get any of the bath water into your eyes. After the bath, rinse off the pepper with cool water.
This treatment should be used daily until the infection subsides. This home remedy is not suitable for people that have sensitive skin.
This anti-inflammatory and antiseptic herb is great for soothing the irritating symptoms of scabies. To make a healing turmeric paste, combine one tablespoon of turmeric with some water and a couple drops of lemon juice.
Stir the ingredients until they form into a thick paste. Apply the paste directly onto the affected area and let sit for an hour. Gently rinse with lukewarm water. Apply this treatment daily until your symptoms subside.
8) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is quite possibly your skin’s best friend, protecting it from a wide array of infections while gently calming irritating symptoms of rashes, insect bites, and especially scabies.
Aloe vera gel contains healing antimicrobial properties that help expedite the healing process. To experience the soothing relief of aloe vera, apply fresh aloe vera gel directly onto the scabies rash.
Leave on for 30 minutes and then gently rinse off with lukewarm water. You can apply this treatment a couple times a day until the infection starts to improve.
9) Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar or White)
Vinegar helps to kill scabies on an organic level, changing the pH of your skin and making an inhospitable environment for infection. The acidity of vinegar helps to kill off mites, helping to speed up the healing time.
To help kill off scabies mites with vinegar, mix a couple tablespoons of ACV or white vinegar with a couple tablespoons of water in a bowl. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and dab the cotton ball directly onto the affected area.
Let sit for a couple minutes and then gently rinse off with lukewarm water. To help fight the infection, use this treatment 3 times daily for 15 days.
10) Lavender Essential Oil
This gentle and fragrant essential oil is a powerful antiseptic that helps eradicate the mites responsible for the scabies outbreak. To take a soothing lavender bath, add 5 drops of lavender oil and 5 drops of olive oil to your bath water.
Relax and soak in the bath for 15 minutes as the lavender helps kill the mites while relieving the painful itch associated with scabies. Use this home remedy daily until the infection is gone.