Can I get a prescription for 5% pyrethrum cream to treat scabies? Is there any other treatment that will kill these mites?

There are several other treatments for scabies - permethrin is not the only treatment. Testing on human tissue samples and on mice has shown that permethrin may be carcinogenic, which is why its use is restricted. However, the drug is probably safe for short term use, as it is not absorbed well by the skin, and rarely causes skin reactions. If for some reason you prefer using permethrin you can try using a lower strength version, as this will be available without a prescription. The drug is also used for treating head lice, and the typical concentration for this purpose is only 1 per cent. The typical concentration for treating scabies however is 5 per cent, so the milder concentration of the drug may not be of much use, especially if the scabies infection is a severe one.

You can instead try using a simple home remedy such as tea tree oil or neem oil. As yet, not much research has done on the efficacy of using these traditional medicines against scabies, but one study has shown tea tree oil to be successful at treating scabies than commercial medications, although this was only an in vitro test. Preliminary tests have also shown that neem oil is quite effective against the scabies mite. These oils are quite easily available; if you have difficulty finding them, you should try any herbal store. Apply the oil to your skin daily, preferably repeating the application twice a day.

Another simple home remedy that is quite effective in treating scabies is sulfur with petroleum jelly. You need to mix the two in a proportion of 1:9, and then apply this mixture on your skin. Both sulfur and petroleum jelly are very cheap and easily available over the counter at any drug store. They are also completely safe and can be used even on young children. However, if you have a sulfur allergy, you should of course avoid this treatment.

There are other commercially available medications for scabies too, such as lindane and malathion, but the treatments described above should be enough to get rid of the infection. Make sure that all the members of your household are treated for scabies, and that you apply the treatment all over the body, from the neck down. Also, I assume that you are sure this is a scabies infection - a sure indication is usually the characteristic burrows, and you can find pictures of this online.

answered by M W

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