Scabies is caused by parasitic organisms that feed and breed under your skin. The mites are responsible for causing the condition, is scientifically known as Sarcoptes scabiei.
It causes great itching and gives rise to gray lines on your skin along with red rashes. The scabies mites spread via skin-to-skin contact.
If you touch an infected person, or if you share clothing, beddings, or even towels. These scabies mites hideaway under the upper layer of your skin, feed on blood and lays eggs.
Scabies mites do not survive on animals. They usually crawl as they are unable to fly. They survive for about one or two months with a human host. But, they cannot survive away from the host for more than three days.
The mites lay eggs under the skin and they hatch into larvae in four to five days. In another four or five days, the mites mature. They readily lay eggs again for the next generation. This cycle carries on unless there is a medical intervention.
Now that we are aware of the differences. Let us have a detailed look at the symptoms.
Symptoms Of Scabies
In the early stages, scabies might be mistaken for any other skin conditions. It is because the rashes look very similar to acne and mosquito bites. What sets scabies apart is the persistent itch. Itching is the most severe among children and the elderly.
After the initial exposure to scabies, it might take up to five to six weeks for the symptoms to appear. The symptoms develop more rapidly in those who have had scabies before.
The characteristic symptom of scabies are rashes and with intense itching that gets worse every day. Nonstop scratching of the infected skin area can create sores, which in turn become infected.
Commonly Infected Areas Among Infants
- Soles of their feet
Common Sites For Rashes In Older Children And Adults
- The area between your fingers
The rash itself consists of tiny blisters or pimple-like projections. Sometimes, the burrow tracks of the parasitic mites can also be seen on your skin.
They may appear as to be tiny and raised or discolored lines. In the beginning, those red bumps are likely to appear on the parts of your body where your skin folds or forms creases.
Then comes the incessant itching. The itching doesn’t go away completely. You are likely to feel way itchier at night and that is a telltale sign. During the day you are usually active and distracted with your work.
Because of this activity, the mites are not able to move much. Even if they do, you won’t take notice of them as such. But during the night time, they are the most active.
Some people with scabies are likely to develop a different form of scabies known as Norwegian scabies or simply, crusted scabies. This is more severe than the normal condition.
It is also an extremely contagious type of scabies. Ones with Norwegian scabies develop a very thick crust of skin that contains thousands of mites and eggs.
Norwegian scabies does not always cause itchy rashes on your skin. Instead, it might lead to other symptoms. Your skin is likely to become thick, gray and it might crack when touched.
Norwegian scabies usually develops in individuals with a weak immunity system. People with HIV or AIDS are often affected. Apart from this, the ones who use steroids or medications for rheumatoid arthritis, or those undergoing chemotherapy are also affected.
How Is Scabies Diagnosed?
Your doctor is likely to be able to diagnose scabies by simply performing the physical exam followed by inspecting the affected area of your skin. In some cases, your doctor might rule out scabies by removing a mite from your skin with the help of a needle.
If a mite cannot be found easily, your doctor is going to scrape off a small section of your skin as a tissue sample. The sample is then going to be examined under a microscope. This will definitely confirm the existence of scabies mites or their eggs on your skin.
How Does It Spread
Scabies is extremely contagious and spreads directly through skin-to-skin contact. Scabies mites are extremely sensitive to their environment. Like we already mentioned, they can only live on the host body for 3-4 days.
Transmission of these parasitic mites involves person-to-person contact of the skin. So the risk factor includes any close contact with an infected individual. It is a little impossible, to have scabies by simply shaking hands or hanging clothes next to someone who is infected.
However, sexual physical contact can easily transmit this disease. In fact, sexual contact is the most common way of transmission among sexually active people. For this reason, scabies has sometimes considered as a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Other forms of physical contact, like hugging and kissing, are enough to spread the parasitic mites. Sometimes it may happen that an entire organized sector might get it. For instance, a school or a day care. But as the misconception holds, you don’t get it via sneezing or coughing.
Can You Catch Scabies From A Dog Or Cat?
Scabies found in animals is called Mange. However, it does not trigger scabies infestation among humans. Feline scabies and canine scabies are NOT caused by the mites that cause scabies in us humans.
If the mites transfer from the animal to the human, they are rendered incapable of reproducing on the human skin. In other words, the mites that come off simply die without causing you any medical problem.
The same fact holds true for scabies in humans. They might cause a little itching in the animal but they are not capable of reproducing. Manage (or animal scabies) may not be a cause of concern for us humans, but if your pet has it, it needs to be treated without any delay.
Home Remedies For Treatment Of Scabies
There are various ways of healing scabies at home, simply by utilizing natural ingredients. They may including herbs, vegetable & fruit mixture, and things you will easily get at home.
1. Bush Tea
Bush tea or Lippia multiflora is a herb that is native to Africa. But, it is available in all health food stores in the world. This tea contains essential flavonoids, which is very good for your skin.
Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial qualities. They help you to remove the scabies infection. Bush tea also gives you an instant relief from the annoying symptoms and kills the virus.
Simply put some bush tea leaves in a pot of water and bring it to boil. Allow the tea to cool down. Strain the tea and drink it just like any other beverage. You can opt to add some honey for an improved taste. Consume this tea 2-3 times a day.for quick results.
Rosemary is yet another herb, which effectively treats scabies. It comes with alpha – pinene and cineole.
Additionally, it also has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which is going to protect the affected skin from other secondary infections. They will also help you decrease the pain and the itchy sensations.
It also has camphor, which is an astringent. Camphor will make the affected area inhospitable for the scabies parasitic mites. Lastly, rosemary enhances the healing process of your skin.
Put some rosemary in a pot of water and boil it. Leave it liquid to cool down. Then apply this on the affected area with cotton. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off.
As we all know, walnuts work marvelously on our brain health. Apart from being healthy, walnuts are also effective in treating skin infections like scabies. Walnut has vermifuge and anti-fungal agents which help in removing any parasites or worms. It can also be used for treating other ailments like Candida fungal infections, ringworm or athlete’s foot.
You can soak the affected area in Walnut water. This would help you in a quick recovery. Alternatively, you can also boil a handful of walnuts in two cups of water. Boil it until the water becomes half of its original volume. Leave it to cool and then drink it.
4. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a well known botanical pesticide. It is used to heal a variety of skin diseases including scabies. It’s antibacterial and antifungal properties helps in eliminating fungus or bacteria on your skin. It shortens the duration of scabies.
You simply need to dab pure neem oil on the affected skin directly. You can also massage it until the oil is absorbed into your skin. Allow the oil to sit for a few minutes Then you wash the area with clean, warm water. You can repeat this process twice or thrice per day for a few weeks. This is bound to ease the itching sensation at the first go!
Alternatively, you can also Neem oil along with Turmeric powder. Combine these two in such a way that they form a paste. You can apply this paste directly on the affected area. This homemade cream will help you to soothe the itching and speed up the healing process.
Turmeric is a wonderful herb containing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These inherent properties can help you in relieving the various symptoms of scabies. You can use turmeric powder along with lemon juice.
You can simply combine them to make a paste. Add a little water to make it smooth. You can apply this paste directly on the affected area. Let it sit for about an hour and then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat this twice a day to get a significant improvement.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera possesses antimicrobial properties. This helps in speeding up the treatment process.
The gel is can be used to heal wounds, insect bites, skin disorders, and acne. Using aloe vera on your skin is extremely safe as it a conventional drug. It does not cause any side effects.
You take some fresh aloe vera leaf from the plant and extract the gel from its leaf. Apply this fresh gel directly on your affected skin area and leave it on for about 30 minutes.
Rinse off with warm water after that. You can repeat this process three to four times a day for 1-2 weeks. You are sure to see an improvement.
Bleach is the most popular home remedy for scabies. It is because it helps in killing parasitic mites. Bleach contains chlorine, which is the disinfectant that fights off the mites causing the infection.
Take bleach and water in the ratio 1:3 and mix it well. Spray this solution on the affected area directly. You can apply this solution twice per day for a few days.
Along with this treatment, it is vital that you avoid contact with any infected persons and their personal items. You must also keep your surroundings clean and neat to prevent the mites from spreading.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinene-4-ol. This helps you to kill the parasite that causes scabies. Apart from this, tea tree oil also has antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, disinfectant, antibacterial properties.
Mix a tablespoon of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply this mixture directly on your skin with a cotton ball. You should repeat this process twice a day for a week or two. This will help you decrease any swelling and pain associated, along with killing the mites.
Garlic contains a very strong antibacterial agent that helps in removing the mites causing the infection. It acts in two ways.
For starters, it helps you to ease the infection and prevents the infections from returning again. Secondly, garlic can be made into a paste and can be used to smother the mites. This will prevent them from acting on your skin.
Garlic contains antiviral, anti-bacterial anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties. It’s because of a compound present in garlic called “allicin” giving garlic these properties.
You can simply extract some juice from a few garlic cloves and apply it directly on the affected area. Along with that, you can also consume 3 -4 cloves of garlic every day for internal action. Make sure to leave a gap of 2 days after using garlic for 3 days on your skin. Keep repeating process to treat scabies efficiently.
10. Clove Oil
Apart from having anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, clove oil is also an analgesic. This helps in relieving the almost insatiable itch that comes with the scabies infection. However, evidence
However, evidence suggests that you will burn your skin if you use this oil in an undiluted state. It is, therefore, recommended that you use a little olive oil or coconut oil along with clove oil.
Take a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and add it to about two tablespoons of clove oil. The lauric acid in the coconut oil makes the solution a strong anti-bacterial on its own. Simply apply this mixture on the affected area and let your skin absorb it naturally. Your condition is bound to improve in two weeks.
Yes, onion can help you fight scabies! It is because of the following reasons:
i) Onions contain Quercetin, an analgesic that relieves the symptoms of itching.
ii) Onion is also rich in Organosulfur compounds. These compounds directly attack and eliminate the parasite causing scabies.
Simply take a medium sized onion, and chop it in a few whole pieces. Put this in a bowl and sprinkle some salt on it. Make sure you cover the bowl after this and leave it untouched for about an hour. Apply the juice using cotton on your skin.
Alternatively, you can take an onion and put it in a juice or mixer. Take the paste in a thin cloth and strain all the juice out. Apply the juice on the affected area.
Another way of using onion for treatment is boiling about 7-8 onions for about 15 minutes. Let the water cool down to the room temperature and then apply this juice on the affected area.
12. White Vinegar
White vinegar has acetic acid, which reduces the pH level of your skin. This makes your skin more acidic. As discussed above in this article, an acidic pH level is good for your skin but it is poison for the scabies parasite living in it. Eventually, they are killed.
- Mix white vinegar and water in 1:1 ratio.
- Apply this solution on your affected skin area with a cotton ball.
- Leave this on for about five to six minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water.
13. Bitter Gourd
Bitter gourd helps you to heal scabies internally. It is loaded with vitamins B & C, Folate, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese. Along with these, it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Put a bitter gourd in the blender, take out the paste and extract its juice. It is meant to be extremely bitter, so you add a tablespoon of lemon juice to make it taste a little better.
Drinking this once daily will help you get rid of the scabies parasite in just a week!
14. Cayenne Pepper
If you don’t have a sensitive skin, you can then use cayenne pepper to execute an aggressive treatment on the scabies parasites. Cayenne pepper is going to burn the mites without having any adverse effects on your skin.
Following is how you apply the treatment:
- Fill in a bathtub with hot water or lukewarm water. Then, add one or two cups of cayenne pepper.
- Soak yourself in it for as long as you can. Preferably you should do it till the water gets cold. Take special care so that this water does not get into your eyes. The burning sensation will be unbearable.
- Take a shower with cold water afterward.
Taking a bath with cayenne pepper, once a day will help you get rid of your scabies within a week!
How Is Norwegian Scabies Different From Common Scabies?
Norwegian scabies, or crusted scabies, is different from the common type. In Norwegian scabies, there seems to be a problem with the immune response of your body to the parasites. This gives them room for infestation and the individual is soon filled with hundreds or thousands of those mites.
Crusted scabies always affects the ones with a compromised immune system. Studies have shown that they are the most frequent in the elderly. But that does not limit the mite’s range. They also affect those who are physically or mentally disabled, and in individuals with AIDS or lymphoma.
The lesion of this specific form of scabies is pretty extensive and they spread all over your body. Your elbows, palms, knees, scalp and the soles of your feet are the most commonly affected areas.
First, your skin in these areas takes on a scale like an appearance. These scaly areas then eventually take on a wart-like manifestation. Your fingernails can thicken and get discolored.
Interestingly, the itching will be minimal or rather absent in this form of scabies. A particular danger of the crusted scabies is the development of other secondary infections, because of the Staphylococcus bacteria.
Scabies is no joke. It can lead to severe skin diseases and you might also end up with skin cancer. So, you must take utmost care to stay away from people who are already infected.
Consider these four points before coming to any major conclusion and rushing to a doctor.
- The type of scabies, that is non-crusted or crusted to which you have been exposed
- The degree and the duration of your skin is exposed to the person who been infested.
- Did the exposure occur after the patient was treated for scabies or before that
- Whether the person exposed works in any environment where he or she would be prone to be exposed other people during the time period.
Try and wash your clothes if you come back from work, school or any other place where there are a lot of people in your close vicinity.
Do not think that it is close to impossible when it comes to treating scabies. The amount of time you need for treatment would vary depending upon the degree of the infection.
Sometimes it might happen that the symptoms of scabies are very slow. In that case, you must contact your doctor immediately.
Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.