What is Scabies? The possibility that you have a scabies infection may mortify you, but the condition really isn’t life threatening and definitely isn’t something you need to be embarrassed about. While you may shudder at the prospect of having to itch at yourself at the next social gathering, rest assured that the condition is not something that cannot be treated; however, it is highly contagious. Scabies can be described as a very itchy condition that affects your skin. This affliction is caused by a small burrowing mite, known as Sarcoptes Scabiei. The urge to scratch at the affected area is generally more intense during the night, as compared to the rest of the day.

What does a Scabies Infestation look like? Intense itching can be caused by a variety of skin conditions, so it would be quite difficult for you to diagnose the condition yourself based simply on this symptom. It may help to learn about the physical symptoms of the condition though, or what a scabies infestation looks like on human skin. When present on human skin, the Sarcoptes Scabiei mite infestation is usually noticed because of the appearance of a rash. Occasionally, a scabies mite infestation leads to the appearance of blisters.

How do you get Scabies? Scabies is a highly contagious condition that can be easily transmitted from one person to another through direct physical contact and in some cases through contact with contaminated personal items like bed linen or clothing. The scabies rash itself is however caused due to an allergic reaction to the scabies mite, which burrows in the skin. The actual scabies rash and symptoms such as irritation or blistering are caused as a result of an allergic reaction to the movement and burrowing of the mites.

Symptoms of Scabies

The first telltale sign that usually gets our attention would be the annoying itchiness and irritation in the affected area. This isn’t really much of a warning sign or symptom of scabies though, as it could be just about any skin condition. The physical symptoms of scabies are however quite unmistakable and you would probably notice the appearance of a rash in the area, with some slightly raised bumps like pimples or blisters. Although a scabies infestation is more likely to thrive in an area with a lot of skin folds, such as between the fingers and toes, the infestation can develop on any part of the body including the face, scalp, neck and even on the hands and legs.

Some of the areas most commonly afflicted with scabies symptoms in both men and women would include:

  • On the shoulder blades
  • On the buttocks
  • Around or under the breasts (one of the common scabies symptoms in women)
  • On the soles of the feet
  • Around the waist
  • In between the fingers
  • On the knees
  • Around the genital area (one of the common scabies symptoms in men)
  • In the infer elbow area
  • Along the inside part of the wrist
  • In the armpits

Some of the other signs that usually accompany scabies rash symptoms include itchiness, dryness, redness, soreness and perhaps even swelling.

A little known scenario that isn’t altogether uncommon would be a relapse of scabies, referred to as post scabies. Some of the common post scabies symptoms include the reappearance of bumps on the skin, itching (usually not as intense as in a new infestation), infections and reactions to allergens like pesticides. There are some who may also experience post scabies eczema, which is a similar skin condition.

If any of these symptoms do surface and you have reason to suspect post scabies, it would be advisable to seek swift treatment to get rid of the problem.

Causes of Scabies

What Causes Scabies in Humans? The condition of scabies itself is caused due to an infestation of the scabies mite. Any environment or job that requires close personal contact such as at a day care center increases your risk of infection, because of the higher possibility of exposure. When an impregnated female mite gets transferred on to the skin of an uninfected person the female will burrow and lays her eggs producing more scabies mites, giving rise to an infestation. Factors that could cause the mites to spread from one person to another include:

  • Close personal contact with an infected person
  • Sharing towels, clothes, or bed linen with those who may be infected
  • Sexual contact with a person who has an infestation

What are the Causes of Scabies in Children? The causes of a scabies infection in children, quite naturally, remain the same as those in adults. Children however tend to pick up scabies infections a lot more often than adults for the simple reason that most kids spend a lot more time interacting with each other, and most such interaction does involve close physical contact. Playschools and nurseries are probably the areas with highest risk because of the prolonged periods that a large number of children spend together in a confined environment. These are not the only conditions under which the mites can spread, but any interaction with an infected person, whether a family member, or a neighborhood child, increases the risk of infection. Parents often worry about their children picking up an infection from their pets, like dogs or cats, but you don’t really need to worry about animals being a source of infection. Although there are various mites that can infest an animal’s fur, the variety of scabies mites that can be found on animals are not of the same type that infest humans.

What Causes Scabies Rash? The scabies rash itself is not caused by the action of the scabies mite, but as a result of a reaction of our immune systems to the presence of the mites. As the female scabies mite burrows and begins to lay eggs it triggers an allergic reaction that manifests in the symptoms associated with scabies.

Remedies for Scabies

Fortunately, there are many cures for scabies that can help you get rid of the annoying mites or at the very least provide relief from the symptoms. Treatment to get rid of scabies could involve the use of conventional medications and ointments, home remedies, herbal remedies and lifestyle changes. Most health care providers prescribe oral medications or topical ointments or both, to treat scabies infestations. Topical medicines prescribed include Permethrin 5%, Lindane and Crotamiton. Sulfur preparations and antihistamines are also commonly prescribed for scabies treatment. Even though these medications help get rid of the scabies bites immediately, the itching could linger on for days. There are an increasing number of people today who prefer to opt for natural treatments, but their effectiveness is not always verifiable. Home remedies for scabies can however come in handy as they may help to alleviate the symptoms of scabies and possibly hasten the healing process and facilitate the action of conventional medications. Home remedies and natural treatments are also a great option when you do not have immediate access to medical care.

Most scabies natural cures comprise of ingredients like margosa oil, tea tree oil and Vitamin E.

Margosa oil, which has been central to traditional medicine in ancient India remains just as popular today, and has been found to contain antibacterial and antifungal properties. Margosa oil is in fact recommended by most naturopaths and practitioners of traditional medicine for a variety of skin conditions like eczema, acne, psoriasis and scabies.

Tea tree oil is another commonly used ingredient that is popular in some parts as an effective natural cure for scabies. It is believed to be most effective when used in a mixture, made from 10 ml tea tree oil and 90 ml distilled witch hazel. Studies over the past years into the properties of tea tree oil and its effectiveness as a scabies treatment have been quite promising and documentation of resistance against anti-ectoparasitic compounds is increasing.

There are also other natural treatments and herbal remedies that are recommended for scabies treatment, but you do need to exercise caution even when administering natural treatments. Many herbs in particular are known to contain chemicals and toxins that can be fatal if administered incorrectly or pose a risk of drug interaction.

Diet for Scabies

While a diet may not play a direct part in curing scabies, a healthy diet can boost immunity, which helps in fighting off an infection. There are certain foods that are said to contain antibacterial properties, like onions and garlic and therefore, their consumption is encouraged. In case you suffer from scabies, diet changes could help in recovery, but they may not have a direct impact on the actual condition. Given below are certain foods that are recommended for scabies:

  • A bowl of fresh organic fruits like orange and apple and maybe a slice of pineapple. You can also blend these fruits together, with some water and a glass of milk and have a smoothie instead. Consuming a few cloves of garlic at breakfast should also be helpful.
  • Fresh vegetable juice
  • Certain varieties of nuts

If you suffer from any other condition like diabetes, avoiding making any changes to your diet without consulting with your doctor.

Suggestions for Scabies

Scabies can be extremely problematic because it is a stubborn condition that may be hard to get rid of at times, and quite often there may even be a relapse. Given below are a few tips on managing scabies that should help control the problem: