Scabies infestation occurs worldwide and is extremely common, even in our day and age. Seeing as it’s caused by a mite and needs a doctor’s eye to be diagnosed, the disease can also be treated by means of home remedies for scabies. Therefore, if you, your children or your pet dog or cat are suffering from scabies and don’t want to take the traditional western medicine pill route, here are 8 wonderful home remedies for scabies that will get you back on your feet in no time.
What Causes Scabies?
To be able to treat it, one must first know with what they’re dealing. Therefore, here are the basics on scabies. The primary thing you must know is that it’s a skin condition caused by a mite or a parasite, called Sarcoptes scabiei. It all starts when the female of the species burrows into the skin. She does this as part of a mating ritual which will allow her to have a place where she can lay her eggs. The males roam from burrow to burrow and mate. After that they die, leaving the females to lay the eggs, which hatch after just three or four days.
After all the hatching is done, the little mites surface from the burrows inside your skin and they become adults in ten or fifteen days. Needless to say, they start the process all over again, and it all happens inside and on the surface of the skin.
If a person suffering from scabies does not seek medical treatment of any kind, he or she will not be cured. The mites and their eggs are resistant to hot water and soap, and one cannot scrub them away. Their life cycle is never-ending. However, they are quite sensitive to the environment in which they live. Therefore, they can only survive for some 24 to 36 hours on and inside their host. Even though that sounds like good news to you, the patient, it’s not. Given that there are so many of them and that they adult and breed so rapidly, it doesn’t really matter how quickly they die.
How Can You Catch Scabies?
The only way you can catch scabies is by having some mites transmitted onto your skin. There are no carriers of the disease. Everyone who has mites is an infected person so beware of the individuals who say they can’t have been the culprit because they are not experiencing any symptoms.
The way in which scabies’ mites are transmitted is by simple human contact. However, contrary to popular belief, you cannot get scabies by just touching someone on the hand. Prolonged or intimate contact is necessary for the mites to have sufficient time and a good-enough environment to pass from one human body to another. And speaking of intimate, it has been found that the best way in which one can contract scabies is via sexual intercourse. This is the exact reason why scabies was considered for so long a sexually transmitted disease, the likes of syphilis and gonorrhea. However, it is not. It’s just that that particular type of contact creates the perfect environment for parasites to go from one person to another.
However, you cannot get scabies by merely brushing against an infected person. For example, you cannot contract this disease through shaking hands, leaving your coat or other clothes next to some sick person’s, you can’t even get it if you sleep in the same sheets in which a person with scabies has slept. In the same way, children don’t usually get it at school, simply because these institutions don’t allow for that type of prolonged physical contact between children.
This is the main reason why scabies is usually an ‘in the family’ type of disease. Mothers, for example, pass it on to their children via prolonged hugging. Relatives give it to each other because they spend a lot of time together.
How Can Scabies Be Diagnosed and What Are Its Symptoms?
The only way one can diagnose scabies is by visiting a physician. He or she will take a look at you and tell you if you have the disease or not. There are no other tests for this.
As far as symptoms go, scabies, seeing as it’s a skin condition, looks and feels much like a rash. It’s made up of small, reddish bumps that may or may not have blood crusts. Not all of these bumps are necessarily a bug. It’s very itchy, and it’s thought that these symptoms are actually the body trying to fight off the eggs and feces of the mites inside the skin. If you feel the need to scratch, do so, as researchers have found that scratching actually destroys the nests and the mites’ burrows.
What Are the Best Home Remedies for Scabies?
Although the usual treatment involves drugs, there are some home remedies for scabies which you can try.
#1. Washing everything
The first thing you have to think of when it comes to home remedies for scabies is that you need to wash everything up as best as you can. It’s true, as pointed out in the beginning, mites are not usually killed by hot water and soap, but that’s on the body. This means you can, and you should wash all the linens, bed spreads, and clothes that have come anywhere near the infested person. Mites cannot survive long away from a body, so this means you can easily get rid of the parasites on clothes and such by washing them at very high temperatures. Typical detergent will do the trick just fine, but if you want to make sure, go ahead and use special powders.
#2. Prevention Is Always the Best Cure
Home remedies for scabies can also mean prevention. Given that scabies is such an annoying and disgusting disease, tough to get rid of, it’s unquestionably better to prevent its contraction than having to cure it afterward.
Therefore, make sure you do not come in contact with people, animals or children that are known to have scabies. Always use protection when having sexual intercourse and be very attentive of any school notices that might indicate someone at your child’s school might have scabies. Clean your house very well at all times and do not allow mites and other parasites to multiply.
The best way to do that is by vacuuming everything as best as you can. Do not dust the furniture and such with cloths, as that only raises the dust that contains the mites in the air but doesn’t get rid of it. Vacuuming sucks the dust and debris. Remember to throw away the vacuum bag after you’re done directly outside the house. Don’t throw it in your garbage bin inside.
#3. Personal Hygiene
Probably one of the best home remedies for scabies is personal hygiene. If you are already suffering from this disease, some simple hygienic rituals can positively shorten the mites’ life cycle and relieve you of the suffering. Cut your nails while you are sick and clean them as best as you can, including underneath. Because you scratch, there are unhatched eggs and other mites under your fingernails. If you don’t clean them, all you will be doing is to spread the bugs all over your body.
Shampoo your hair regularly, so as not to allow any mites to dwell in there. Given the thickness of head and body hair, mites can be especially difficult to get rid of from those parts of the body. Shampooing every day might help. Also, try to remove the hair from all the body parts that you can. If you are a woman, this should be easy, in case you are a believer in removing body hair that is considered unaesthetic. If you are a man, try to remove hair from your armpits and private parts at least, as mites thrive in those bodily locations.
#4. Treatment Is for Everyone
Remember that home remedies for scabies should be a generalized thing in your household and private circle of friends and acquaintances. Regardless if they have been infected or not, every single person in your house needs to be treated. The same goes for your friends, colleagues with whom you spend a lot of time, and all your sexual partners. The golden rule here is that everyone needs to be treated at the same time. Otherwise, it simply won’t work. One person will get rid of the mites, but will be infested again.
#5. Use Cayenne Pepper
One of the simplest home remedies for scabies that might help is cayenne pepper. If correctly used, this spice might burn off the mites and relieve you of this problem. Try taking a hot bath. Mix one cup of cayenne pepper in the bath water and just lie there until it gets rather cold. Rinse the pepper off with cold water and remember not to get any of it in your eyes. Also, if you have any open wounds, cover them up before getting in the bath, as they will sting.
This is not a treatment per se, but it can be counted among the home remedies for scabies, as it prevents other skin outbreaks caused by fungi as well as secondary infections. You can crush a few zinc tablets and mix them with a little water until they turn into a thick paste. Apply this paste all over your affected area and leave it there until it dries out naturally. This should ordinarily happen in half an hour or so. You can then rinse it all off using some lukewarm or even cold water. Repeat this treatment every day once a day until your scabies difficulties have cleared off.
You can also try eating more foods that are rich in zinc. Some great examples are whole grain foods, soybeans, wheat bran, and sunflower seeds.
As far as home remedies for scabies go, turmeric is thought to be good since it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic characteristics. This means that it may relieve the symptoms caused by scabies.
The recipe is quite simple. Add one tablespoon of turmeric powder and just a few drops of lemon juice to enough water to make a thick paste. Smear it all over those parts of your skin where you have bumps and blisters caused by scabies and leave it on there for an hour, more or less. When it’s somewhat dried out, rinse it off using lukewarm water. If you notice any significant improvement, repeat this process every single day until you are cured.
Another recipe calls for you to mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder and one of neem. Add a little bit of water so that the two powders can form a thick paste. Dab it smoothly over the areas that bother you and leave it exposed to dry. Take a bath or a quick shower, both as hot as you can bear them to wash off the paste and any mites caught in it. This too should be repeated once a day.
#8. Tea Tree Oil
The last entry on our list of home remedies for scabies is tea tree oil. It is believed to be suitable as a treatment for this disease as it contains terpinen-4-ol, a compound thought to kill off the mites that are responsible for scabies. The way to use it is by mixing one tablespoon of tea tree oil and one of olive oil. Dip a cotton ball in this mixture and rub it onto your skin, in the affected areas only. The treatment calls for repetition twice every day for several weeks, until you notice some relieving of the itchiness and redness.
Apart from that, you can also add as much as ten or even 12 drops of pure tea tree oil into your bath water and bathe as you would normally do. The water should be lukewarm, and you should do it twice a day for two or three weeks.
A word of caution here – if you are pregnant or nursing, you should steer clear of tea tree oil. Also, if you know you have a sensitive or irritable skin, don’t use it. Apply it on a small patch of your skin first, to see how it reacts. Wait a whole day and if nothing happens, you can use it safely.
Scabies is a troublesome disease to combat, but you can do it successfully using home remedies for scabies, in case you don’t want to take pills or use medicinal creams. The worst part of this disease is not the itchiness and redness themselves, but the fact that, if left untreated, it doesn’t go away, because the body doesn’t have a natural way to fight against it. The mites will multiply endlessly and will keep on burrowing inside your skin, so make sure you find the perfect list of home remedies for scabies, like ours!
Clara was born and grew up in Great Britain, and although she’s now happier with the weather in North Carolina where she resides with her partner, she does miss the ubiquitous teacakes. She graduated from a master’s in literature and worked for about 5 years at local news magazines as a reporter.