Treating Scabies

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mites. The mites burrow themselves into the skin. This causes intense itchiness and triggers an allergic response. Scabies is transmitted through skin to skin contact. Although it’s not classified as a sexually transmitted disease, scabies is common among sexually active individuals.

Scabies Signs and Symptoms

The telltale signs of scabies include inflamed, irritated skin. Red bumps and blisters would develop on the affected area. Upon closer inspection, tiny red burrows could be seen on the surface of the skin. Scabies also causes extreme itchiness and redness. If left untreated, frequent scratching could lead to secondary skin infections.

Diagnosing Scabies

If you suspect that you have scabies, go to your dermatologist to get a diagnosis. You will go through a series of physical examination to diagnose the condition. Your dermatologist could also scrape off bits of your skin to analyze under a microscope. If it’s indeed scabies, you will be given various medication to kill off the mites.

And the treatment isn’t just strictly for you. All people you interacted with have to subject themselves to physical exams too. That includes sexual partners or housemates. Even if these individuals do not feel or see any signs or symptoms, they should go to their dermatologist for a checkup.

Treating Scabies

Treatment for scabies usually includes benzyl benzoate or permethrin creams or ointments. These treatments will kill the mites upon contact. They will also alleviate itchiness and redness. One important thing to consider is to take these medications as instructed by your doctor. If you apply more than needed, it could worsen your condition.

You will require more powerful medication if the condition worsened and your body is covered with crusted scabs. In severe cases of scabies, you will be given ivermectin. Ivermectin is usually prescribed to HIV-positive patients. To cure scabies, some patients have to take at least two dose of ivermectin. This drug is also given if there is an outbreak of scabies. Other treatments for scabies work to alleviate the symptoms instead. These treatments include antihistamines, Pramoxine lotion, and antibiotics. Steroid creams can be used to minimize swelling and itchiness too.

After Treating Scabies

Don’t think the itchiness will go away instantly after completing a cycle of treatment. There are cases wherein the symptoms worsened during the treatment. But a month or so after treatment, you should see some improvement in your skin. The scabs will stop itching and start healing.

If you don’t see or feel any improvement a month after treatment, it means the mites were not completely eradicated. This is normal. There are cases wherein patients go through two or three cycles of treatment to eliminate all mites from the skin.

Apart from taking your medication and seeing your dermatologist, you have to purge your home too. Clean all beddings and rugs. Wash all your clothes and keep them in sealed plastic covers. Vacuum your entire home if you have to. Do this regularly to improve your condition and prevent another outbreak.