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How Serious is Scabies and What is the Solution?


Scabies is a serious skin condition because it is very contagious and can spread so quickly through close physical contact.

What is scabies?

Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by a tiny burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. Intense itching occurs in the area where the mite burrows. The urge to scratch may be especially strong at night.

Such close physical contact when scabies spreads can be in a family, child care group, school class, nursing home or prison. Because scabies is so contagious, doctors often recommend treatment for entire families or contact groups.

What are the signs of scabies?

Scabies signs and symptoms include:

  • Itching, often severe and usually worse at night
  • Thin, irregular burrow tracks made up of tiny blisters or bumps on your skin

These burrows or tracks will usually appear in the folds of the skin.  Although almost any part of the body may be involved, in adults and older children scabies is most often found:

  • Between the fingers
  • In the armpits
  • Around the waist
  • Along the insides of the wrists
  • On the inner elbows
  • On the soles of the feet
  • Around the breasts
  • Around the male genital area
  • On the buttocks
  • On the knees

In infants and young children, common sites of infestation usually include the:

  • Scalp
  • Palms of the hands
  • Soles of the feet

A point to remember is that if you've had scabies before, signs and symptoms can develop quickly in a matter of days while, if you've never had scabies, it can take as long as six weeks for signs and symptoms to begin.  Unfortunately, you can still spread scabies even if signs or symptoms are not yet  apparent. 

The good news is that scabies can be readily treated.  Pharmaceutical medications applied to the skin kill the mites that cause scabies as well as their eggs. But you may still have some itching for several weeks after treatment.

There are several natural solutions for scabies and the itching

These include:

1. Cayenne pepper can help to alleviate the pain and the itching of scabies although a word of warning is that some people can experience a burning sensation when using this product.  It is possible that the cayenne  pepper can even destroy the actual scabies mites.  You can use cayenne by adding one teaspoon to hot bathwater, sitting in the bath until the water gets cold and then rinsing the body, taking to avoid the cayenne getting into the eyes.  Another method is to create a paste with cayenne and one to two drops of water. Apply the paste to any visible burrows beneath the surface of the skin. 

2. Tiger balm is a topical cream used to reduce inflammation and provide relief from muscle aches and pain, working as an analgesic agent because it contains camphor and clove oil.  While tiger balm won’t kill the itch mites or cure the scabies infestation, it will provide some relief during the waiting period after conventional treatment.

3. Anise seed oil can  be used topically to treat scabies (as well as an infestation of head lice). 

4. Neem oil is well known for its ability to kill scabies mites as well as being helping to prevent the mites from growing and breeding.  There is another advantage in that the oil can numb the pain and relieve the itching.

5. Clove oil comes with analgesic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to dry up scabies blisters and rashes. Combine 4 drops of clove oil with one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it onto the affected area of concern twice a day for the relief from the pain and discomfort.

6. Rosemary oil could help stop any infestation as well alleviate the pain.

7. Tea Tree Oil (when applied topically) can fight scabies mites in a speedy and  effective way.  Most people have heard of Australian Tea Tree oil and its wonderful benefits. No home should be without this essential oil. The oil is only produced in Australia, extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia of the Myrtaceae family and must be one of the most used essential oil.  Tea Tree Oil should never be taken internally.



Scabies: A Neglected Global Disease - PubMed (nih.gov)

 Gray-edged line sign of scabies burrow - PubMed (nih.gov)

Comparison of permethrin-based treatment strategies against scabies in infants and young children - ScienceDirect

Dermacase. Can you identify this condition? Scabies - PubMed (nih.gov)