Scabies

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideScabies Pictures Slideshow: Stop the Itch Mite

Scabies Pictures Slideshow: Stop the Itch Mite

What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation?

Curing scabies is rather easy with the administration of prescription scabicide drugs. There are no approved over-the-counter preparations that have been proved to be effective in eliminating scabies, and home remedies are not effective. The following steps should be included in the treatment of scabies:

  1. Apply a mite-killer like permethrin (Elimite). These creams are applied from the neck down, left on overnight, then washed off. This application is usually repeated in seven days. Permethrin is approved for use in people 2 months of age and older and is considered to be the safest and most effective treatment for scabies.
  2. An alternative treatment is 1 ounce of a 1% lotion or 30 grams of cream of lindane, applied from the neck down and washed off after approximately eight hours. Since lindane can cause seizures when it is absorbed through the skin, it should not be used if skin is significantly irritated or wet, such as with extensive skin disease, rash, or after a bath. As an additional precaution, lindane should not be used in pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, people with skin sores at the site of the application, children younger than 2 years of age, or people who weigh less than 110 pounds. Lindane is not a first-line treatment and is only recommended if patients cannot tolerate other therapies or if other therapies have not been effective. Resistance to this medication has also been frequently reported.

What kind of doctor treats scabies?

Scabies is treated by a number of different health-care professionals. The condition is commonly treated by primary-care providers, including pediatricians, internal-medicine specialists, and family medicine specialists. Many patients with skin symptoms seek treatment from a dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist. Sometimes, the condition may be first treated by an emergency-medicine specialist if the patient seeks care in an emergency department. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 4/20/2016
References
REFERENCE:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites - Scabies." Nov. 2, 2010.

IMAGE SOURCES:

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3. iStock

4. Getty Images / John Howard

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15. iStock / CDC

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