What is Scabies?
Scabies is an infestation of a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, a cousin to the mange mite found in animals. Producing an angry, relentlessly itchy red rash, these microscopic mites burrow through the layers of skin and lay their eggs. The subsequent rashes are often found between the fingers, inside the elbow and wrists, and around the waistline and genitals.
How Do You Get Scabies?
It’s a common misconception that being dirty allows scabies to develop or that it can be picked up from pets – these myths simply aren’t true. Scabies is usually caught by being in direct contact with someone already infected by the mite. It’s a frequent problem for prison inmates, people living in institutional care, and nursing homes – places where people live in potentially crowded communities, and there is regular skin to skin contact.
Luckily, scabies isn’t a serious issue and can easily be treated with some simple home remedies, but being contagious, the whole household will need to be treated.
Scabies Treatment – Home Remedies for Scabies
Neem oil, cold pressed from neem seeds, has many beneficial properties, including its use as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic and insect repellant. In many studies, neem has been shown to kill both the mites, and their eggs, breaking the cycle. It should be dabbed onto the affected areas and massaged into the skin, twice a day. Whilst it does have quite a strong smell, this is mitigated by its effectiveness for treating scabies.
Known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities, tea tree oil is very effective in treating scabies. Not only killing the mites, it also alleviates the soreness and itching that is a result of scabies. Dilute a few drops in a cup of water, or in a carrier oil and rub into the affected areas twice a day.
Used for years as an acaricidal, it has the ability to kill the scabies mite. It’s also an effective insect repellent, and is well documented as having antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Once diluted – a few drops in a carrier oil or in a cup of water, it should be massaged into the problematic areas several times a day.
Beautifully cooling, this clear gel will soothe and moisturize any patches of sore skin, easing the intense itchiness and pain. It’s also great for eczema, sunburn and similar skin problems. Applied as often as necessary, it is quickly absorbed, leaving no residue behind.
Be sure to treat the whole family, or anyone you’ve had close contact with, and don’t forget to wash the bedding, towels and so on. Use a hot wash, and any items that cannot be washed, seal in a plastic bag for a week to kill any mites, and prevent them spreading. Keep in mind that scabies might be a bit more tricky to deal with than you thought so make sure to read up on what it is and how it manifests from reputable sources.
Whatever remedy you choose, it may take several weeks to see a complete recovery, but do persevere and you will soon start to see, and feel, the benefits.