Scabies is a skin condition that causes irritation and itching. It’s highly contagious and can be very uncomfortable. Scabies can affect men and women of all ages and social backgrounds. The condition is caused from small mites burrowing into the skin. If you think you have scabies, there are numerous treatment options available. Some treatment plans may work, and some may be a waste of your time.
If you want to know how well a scabies treatment plan is working, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the condition. Scabies is spread by contact with someone who has the condition, but you can also get it by touching the infected person’s clothing, towels or bedding. Scratching an infested area can also spread the mites. If you have scabies, you can spread it whether or not you are showing physical symptoms.
Symptoms of Scabies
Scabies causes itching and irritation that is often more severe at nighttime. You may not experience any symptoms until several weeks after the mites pass through your skin. For these first few weeks, your body is adjusting to the infestation. You will get an allergic reaction to the mites, which causes the itching. The worst symptoms occur in older adults and young children.
Scabies can come back if all the eggs aren’t destroyed with the initial treatment. Eggs left over can hatch and cause more irritation. The second time your body reacts to the mites, your symptoms will start within a few days. It can also happen immediately. It’s not a good idea to wait if you have scabies symptoms. Waiting too long for treatment increases the chance of you spreading the mites to others.
You can ask your doctor to assess your scabies symptoms. He or she can check for signs of swelling or redness. You may need to disclose if you have been in contact with other infested people. Your physician may also take a skin sample by scraping skin from the affected area. He or she can look under a microscope to determine if mite eggs are present. This doesn’t hurt, and it’s an effective and quick way of diagnosing the condition.
Types of Scabies Treatments
Scabies doesn’t go away on its own. You will need to receive treatment in order to kill the mites and eggs. Most treatments take one to three days to work. The most common type of scabies treatment is a prescription-strength cream or lotion. You will need to leave the medication on your skin for 8 to 12 hours. Itching will begin to diminish within days, but it may take several weeks to stop completely.
Commonly used scabies medications include Lindane, Crotamiton and Permethrin. If you continue to experience severe itching for longer than two weeks after using these creams and lotions, they may not be strong enough. Ask your doctor about oral medicine for treating scabies. Ivermectin can be taken orally, and it is very successful in killing the mites.
You can also alleviate the itching and irritation of scabies while you are on the prescribed medication. Taking a cool bath or soaking your skin with a cold, wet cloth is wonderfully relieving. You can also apply calamine lotion to the affected areas. Some doctors suggest using steroid creams as well. If you want long-lasting relief, ask your physician if you can take antihistamines.
Scabies is very contagious, and treating it requires some persistence. If you want to prevent future breakouts, there are some simple steps you can take. Clean all your clothing, linen and bedding with soapy, hot water several days before you begin treatment. Place the items in the dryer on the highest heat setting. If you have any possessions that aren’t washable, seal them in air-tight bags for at least one week.
If any symptoms worsen, or if you develop a high fever or see red lines shooting from the affected areas, contact your doctor. These may be signs of something more serious. To be sure your scabies treatment is working, pay attention to your symptoms. Take your oral medication, apply your creams diligently, and avoid contact with others. Scabies can be treated, but it will take time and effort.