An introduction to the treatment of scabies
Scabies is an extremely contagious condition that is often found in overcrowded environments.
Over the years, a number of natural and conventional treatments have been established in order to curb the spread of the mite, and make sure that a scabies outbreak does not regress into an episode of Norwegian scabies.
While most sufferers will be fixated on relieving their physical symptoms, such as the aggravating itch or the vivid rash, it is important that you look internally and try to support your immune function, which can be instrumental in preventing an outbreak from occurring in the first place.
There are a number of home remedies that have been discovered to support the immune system and attack invading parasites such as the scabies mite.
It is important though, when treating scabies, that you consider what is best to kill the eggs as well as the infesting mites to avoid the infection from returning. If you notice that your symptoms are worsening that you seek medical attention in order to avoid your outbreak developing into Norwegian scabies.
- Relax: The negative repercussions of stress have already been touched upon on our causes page , so it is vital to now think about the positive ways in which you can lower your stress levels. Many people find that if they simply set aside some ‘me-time’ during the day it can go a long way towards helping them relax and feel calm. Try to set aside an hour that it designated for yourself to enjoy the activities and pursuits that you want to explore, even if it is simply having a long hot bath or indulging in a good book. If you want to go the extra step, you could even take up yoga, tai-chi or meditation, as all practices involve teaching you proper breathing techniques and how to soothe feelings of doubt and apprehension
- Good nutrition: Your diet is extremely important when it comes to supporting your immune system, so it is only proper that you carefully consider what you are putting into your body, and try to compromise when possible. Fresh fruit and veg form an essential part of your diet and are rich in nutrients like vitamin C and iron, which can strengthen your immune system and nourish your skin cells. If you don’t fancy a piece of steamed broccoli, you could try making a delicious smoothie, which contains a good portion of your five a day, and can be consumed on the go. Trade in your caffeinated drinks for a healthier substitute, like Bambu, or anti-oxidant rich, green tea
- Avoid contagions: Since scabies is an extremely contagious condition, it only makes sense that you try to avoid contact with any potential carriers. This may make you unpopular in certain spheres of your social life, but it’s essential that you do as much as possible to prevent yourself from contracting the mite. Try to avoid physical contact with anyone known to be infected by the mite and if someone in your household is affected, make sure that you sterilise any personal belongings, such as a hairbrush or razor. Wash all your bed linen regularly and at a high temperature in order to kill any remnants of the mite and, most importantly, make sure you seek treatment as soon as possible
- Cayenne Pepper: There is no scientific evidence to verify cayenne’s peppers ability to neutralise parasites such as scabies mites, but it remains a staple of many home remedies that treat the condition. It has been shown that Cayenne can act as an effective topical painkiller, reducing itchiness in an infected area due to the chemical capsaicin, which the peppers contain.1Take care though when applying the paste, as it can sometimes burn when comes into contact with bare skin
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-sceptic products, making it excellent at relieving the swelling of scabies and clear up any bacterial infections. It might not be suitable for application if you are pregnant, but tea tree oil can also act as an anti-parasitic, killing parasite such as scabies mites
- Turmeric: A spice that you may think just belongs in the kitchen; turmeric can be applied topically to the skin to attack scabies mites. The Medical and Cancer Research and Treatment Centre in Nagercoil, India uncovered that turmeric, in addition to Neem, was able to cure 97% of their test subjects of scabies, implying that the spice is capable of killing the mites as well as their eggs.2 Your Health Food Store has a range of turmeric supplements that may be worth your consideration if you plan on giving this option a go
- Onion and garlic: Both garlic and onions contain high levels of quercetin, which can help to ease any irritation in the skin and act as an anti-bacterial agent. They also contain sulphur, a mineral that can potentially kill any persisting mites. You can either increase your dietary consumption of these foods, or apply them topically as a paste once they have been diluted. Allicin max, might be another option as this supplement contains high levels of allicin, one of the compounds that gives onions and garlic their anti-bacterial properties.
Herbal remedies can be very effective at treating the physical and emotional symptoms of scabies, and might be useful if you find that conventional medicines are letting you down.
If you discover that your symptoms are becoming more inflamed, however, it might be worthwhile speak again to your doctor to avoid any further complications.
- Neem cream: Neem is often recommended when it comes to fighting scabies, with a study by the Medical and Cancer Research and Treatment centre in Nagercoil even underpinning its success in treating test subjects suffering from scabies. Neem cream contains natural extracts from neem leaves and can be applied topically to sooth irritated or inflamed skin
- Echinaforce®: Echinacea is a herbal product that is best known for the treatment of colds and flu and is excellent at giving the immune system a boost. You could try Echinaforce® to help keep your immune system strong and healthy or Echinacea cream to keep your dry, sensitive skin hydrated. No part of this herb goes wasted and it is harvested from our gardens in Switzerland, without the usage of harmful preservatives or toxins
- Dormeasan®: If scabies is depriving you of a regular sleep pattern, then it might be worth your while considering our gentle sleep remedy, Dormeasan®. Made using extracts of Valerian and Hops, unlike conventional sleeping pills, Dormeasan is a non-drowsy formula that will not leave you feeling groggy or disorientated the next day
- Stress relief daytime: Stress Relief Daytime is a natural stress remedy to help relieve feelings of apprehension or anxiety. If your symptoms are lowering your self-esteem or confidence, then it might be worth taking this tincture in order to support yourself during this tense and difficult time.
There are a range of conventional medicines available to help relieve the symptoms of scabies; however some of them can come with a variety of side-effects.
It is important that you speak to your doctor beforehand, or if you notice any adverse reactions so you can establish a treatment plan that works for you.
If you think that your partner or any other members of your household might be at risk, then it would be worthwhile having them follow a similar treatment plan to yourself, just to avoid spreading the condition further afield.
- Medical creams: If you are experiencing an outbreak of scabies, then your doctor might suggest that you try a range of different topical creams to soothe your symptoms and kill the scabies parasites. Some of these creams you might be able to buy over the counter at your local pharmacy but others, such as Lindane lotion will have to be prescribed to you as they tend to be stronger and not suitable for smaller children
- Steroid creams: Steroid creams are generally prescribed to help you cope with the itching. They cannot be taken for a prolonged period of time otherwise they may agitate your symptoms further and trigger a range of unpleasant side-effects
- Anti-histamines: Your doctor might advise you to take anti-histamines in order to reduce any inflammation or swelling. These can usually be bought over the counter but can cause drowsiness so it is not advised that you take them if you are planning on driving or operating heavy machinery.