Scabies - Effective Treatments

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What kinds of treatments have been effective for your scabies?

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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. 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.
  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.
  3. Ivermectin, an oral medication, is an antiparasitic medication that has also been shown to be an effective scabicide, although it is not FDA-approved for this use. The CDC recommends taking this drug at a dosage of 200 micrograms per kilogram body weight as a single dose, followed by a repeat dose two weeks later. Although taking a drug by mouth is more convenient than application of the cream, ivermectin has a greater risk of toxic side effects than permethrin and has not been shown to be superior to permethrin in eradicating scabies. It is typically used only when topical medications have failed or when the patient cannot tolerate them.
  4. Crotamiton lotion 10% and cream 10% (Eurax, Crotan) is another drug that has been approved for the treatment of scabies in adults, but it is not approved for use in children. However, treatment failures have been documented with the use of crotamiton.
  5. Sulfur in petrolatum applied as a cream or ointment is one of the earliest known treatments for scabies. It has not been approved by the FDA for this use, and sulfur should only be used when permethrin, lindane, or ivermectin cannot be tolerated. However, sulfur is safe for use in pregnant women and infants.
  6. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can be useful in helping provide relief from itching. Sometimes, a short course of topical or oral steroids is prescribed to help control the itching.
  7. Wash linens and bedclothes in hot water. Because mites don't live long away from the body, it is not necessary to dry-clean the whole wardrobe, spray furniture and rugs, and so forth.
  8. Treat sexual contacts or relevant family members (who either have either symptoms or have the kind of relationship that makes transmission likely).

Just as the itch of scabies takes a while to reach a crescendo, it takes a few days to subside after treatment. After a week or two, relief is dramatic. If that doesn't happen, the diagnosis of scabies must be questioned.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: pheonix, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I have suffered from scabies for 6 months. I just tried the treatment of alcohol, salt, and vinegar. It was the best!! I soaked a handkerchief in it and wrapped it around my arm for 5 minutes. My bumps were almost gone! Now I soaked my socks in it and am wearing them. It is amazing.

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Comment from: beth, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

I recently discovered little bumps on the top of my hands that itched pretty badly. They then started to appear on the top of my feet and worked their way up my arms and legs. I went to the emergency room (just moved and don't have a doctor) and she told me she thinks I have scabies. She prescribed me permethrin 5 percent like the rest of you. But I read here that vinegar and salt help. People, vinegar and salt do help! I got in the bath with no water in the tub and poured vinegar on my feet hands arms and legs. Then I took sea salt and rubbed it in with the vinegar until a white, almost foam, started to appear on my skin (mind you it burned very bad but only for a moment). After I let it sit on my bites and skin I turned the bath on and filled the tub up about a quarter full and stayed in the bath for about 15 minutes. Then after I felt that the vinegar had done its job I took a scalding hot shower (as hot as you can stand). When I got out I dried my body with a brand new towel from the dryer and then I put the permethrin 5 percent cream on my body from head to toe, behind my ears even; everywhere. I washed my sheets and put on clean clothes from straight out of the dryer and went to sleep. I woke up, showered off the cream and bam! The bumps on my hands are gone and the ones on my legs and feet are vanishing slowly. It will still take time for my scabs from itching to heal but I can tell that it definitely worked. I would highly suggest the vinegar. After work I am going to go home and do one more vinegar bath and wash my sheets one more time. I am really hoping this helps someone! I know how horrible these creatures are.

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