Overview of Scabies
Scabies is a common and chronic skin condition which causes intense itching. Triggered by human itch mite infestation, scabies is highly contagious in nature and spreads through physical contact. Small red blisters and tiny burrows form on the skin and turn itchy as a result of the allergic reaction caused by these mites. The scabies symptoms take around 4 to 6 weeks to develop from the time of infestation. By eliminating these mites, the itchiness can be relieved and normal life can be resumed.
What Causes Scabies?
Scabies is caused by small parasites called Sarcoptes scabiei or human itch mites. They burrow into the skin and lay their eggs below the dermal surface. They spread through the body, cause an allergic reaction and trigger extreme itching. One can spot these mites crawling on the surface of the skin, clothes and furniture using a microscope or a magnifying glass.
How Does Scabies Spread?
Scabies is a contagious disease that spreads through personal contacts, sexual partners, chronically ill patients and crowded communities. Since this illness can spread easily from person to another, it can become an epidemic.
How Is Scabies Diagnosed And Treated?
The first step of scabies treatment is getting this disease rightly diagnosis. Scabies is typically diagnosed after the identification of a dermal burrow. Definite scabies diagnosis relies on microscopic identification of these itch mites, eggs or its waste.
Certain oral treatments and medicated creams prove effective in treating scabies. Many times it is seen that the first treatment proves unsuccessful in eliminating the infestation and the mites continue to thrive, multiply and spread within the body and in the patient’s home. Hence, follow-up treatments become very necessary for controlling and eliminating this infestation. Further, informing close contacts about the infestation is also very important for preventing the spread of scabies.
What Are The Home Remedies For Scabies?
The following natural home remedies are known to relieve pain and eliminate scabies infestation.
- Cayenne Pepper - The chemical called capsaicin present in cayenne helps to decrease the pain and itchiness when applied on the skin and can be a useful home remedy for scabies. A paste made by combining cayenne and few drops of water when applied on the visible burrows underneath the dermal surface can eliminate the itch mites. The application of cayenne pepper usual causes a burning sensation on the skin. So the best way to use it is to add a cupful of cayenne pepper into a hot bath, sit in the tub until the water becomes cold and then rinse the body thoroughly with fresh water.
- Clove Oil – Clove oil is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and analgesic properties and can be useful home remedy for scabies. This can be used to dry up scabies blisters in no time. A mix of 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp coconut oil and 10 drops of clove oil, when rubbed twice daily on the infected area, can help to relieve the rashes effectively.
- Anise Seed Oil - Anise seed oil displays excellent insecticidal activity and can be used topically to treat head lice and scabies too. The use of this oil as a home remedy is however not recommended for pregnant women.
- Rosemary Oil - Rosemary oil has the power to restrict the scabies infestation, relieve the pain and prevent the occurrence of secondary infection. Studies have proven that a mix of rosemary oil and clove displays significant anti-microbial properties and relieves scabies effectively and naturally.
- Neem Oil - Scabies mites can be killed and their growth and development can also be restricted by neem oil. Neem also relieves the itchiness and numbs pain and thus is the ideal natural home remedy for treating scabies symptoms.
- Tea Tree Oil - Tea tree oil contains tarpenoids which are known for their strong anti-microbial properties. When applied topically, this oil fights the itch mites effectively.
Preventive Measures for Scabies
Further infestation can be prevented and the immune system can be strengthened by following the under mentioned guidelines:
- All family members, close contacts and even pets of the person infected with scabies should be treated to prevent reoccurrence of scabies.
- Bedding and clothing of the scabies patient must be promptly and thoroughly washed, disinfected and dried in the hottest setting possible in order to prevent the spread of scabies to other members of the family.
- The carpet and furniture at their home must be vacuumed or cleaned using a steam cleaner with borax powder. The vacuum bag containing the mites must be thrown away immediately after cleaning the house.
- The scabies patients should stay in a single area or small room. The less things they touch, less there would be to disinfect. So, these individuals should limit their movement around the house and their exposure to other people, furniture and material in order to prevent the spread of scabies.
- The itchy skin should not be scratched as scratching can worsen the matter, make the infestation spread throughout the body and increase the risk of developing secondary dermal infection.
- Stress can increase the level of itchiness, scratching and the possibility of contracting other skin infections. The patients must try to distress themselves by practicing relaxing exercises like meditation and yoga. They can also use stress relievers to calm their mind and body. Keeping a positive attitude throughout is also necessary for ensuring faster recovery.
By eating a diet rich in healthy anti-inflammatory foods, the scabies patient can naturally detoxify their body, relieve the itchiness, swelling and discomfort, and strengthen their immune system. Some anti-inflammatory foods which must be included in the diet are beets, leafy greens, walnuts, salmon, blueberries and coconut oil. This diet is important for dealing with scabies and side effects of the medications.
Scabies is a really disgusting and annoying skin condition which not only troubles a person physically but emotionally as well. However, by using the above mentioned remedies and preventive measures one can not only get rid of scabies but also improve their overall skin health.