1. Itch Mites and Scabies Rashes
What are Scabies?
Scabies are tiny mites (also known as ‘itch mites’) that live in burrows dug into the skin of their hosts. Dogs, cats, and other animals can become infested with scabies (known as ‘mange‘ on dogs) but these are a type of scabies that cannot successfully infest humans. If you become infested with scabies, chances are they came from another human being. They can be seen by the naked eye when above the skin’s surface but they are very small with adult itch mites reaching a measly 1/2mm in length.
What are the Symptoms of Scabies?
It is possible to have a scabies infestation for up to 6 weeks before exhibiting any signs at all – during which time you may be spreading them to others. When symptoms do occur they are commonly seen as rashes composed of many small, blister-like spots accompanied by itching. There is also a less common variety of the scabies mite that does not usually cause itching (Norwegian scabies). If a person is using cortisone cream this may mask the itchiness (Cortisone is not recommended for fighting scabies symptoms as it is believed to inhibit the body’s immune response to the infection – scroll down to section 2 for alternative treatments).
- See your doctor for a proper diagnosis of your symptoms. You can also discuss scabies treatments with him as he will know of the best option for your particular physiology.
- If it turns out that you have been infested with scabies, inform everyone that habitually comes into close contact with you to be on the lookout for scabies symptoms and refrain from sharing a bed or having intercourse with anyone until you’ve been cured.
2. Getting Rid of Scabies
The most commonly used and safest methods of eliminating scabies involve the use of creams containing either sulfur or permathrin – both of which are lethal to scabies but relatively harmless to humans. Lindane is a poison that was once used widely but has since fallen out of favor because it is EXTREMELY toxic to humans. I’ll repeat: Do NOT use products containing Lindane.
Sulfur Cream Scabies Treatment:
Sulfur creams are available over the counter at most pharmacies. If you are treating an infant, choose one that contains no more than a 2.5% concentration, for an adult you can use a stronger solution of around 10%.
Directions: For three consecutive nights apply the lotion to your body from head to toe before going to bed and do not wash it off in the morning – take your usual bath or shower in the evening just prior to your next application. This will suck because it smells, but hang in there! On the morning of day 4 you can wash it all off. Wash your bed linens and dirty laundry on day 4 as well. Anything that can’t go through the washer can be disinfested with a run through the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes.
Permathrin Scabies Treatment:
Permathrin is an over the counter mitacide that usually only requires 1-2 applications (much less than sulfur) but is slightly more toxic. This treatment should not be used on infants unless directed by your doctor. When selecting a permathrin-containing product (marketed under the name ‘Elimate’) always read and follow the instructions on the label.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of scabies.