Scabies treatments are necessary once it has been confirmed that scabies is the cause of the skin irritation.
Proper treatments normally involve the use of skin insecticidal creams or lotions that kill not only the mites but their eggs as well. A dermatologist or family physician prescribes these creams or lotions. Commonly prescribed scabies cures are:
There is recent concern about the use of lindane as a scabies treatment. This chemical has been potentially linked to a variety of serious medical problems that include seizures and cancer. It is therefore recommended to avoid scabies treatments that contain lindane at this time.
When using a cream to combat scabies, it is usually applied all over the body from the neck down. The cream is left on the body for up to eight hours. For infants and younger children the scalp and head areas are included in the treatment because scabies can affect these areas in this age group. It is strongly recommended that family members and other persons who have had skin contact with an infested person also be treated even though they do not show any signs of scabies. This will help prevent the spread of this contagious skin condition and prevent re-infestation of the scabies sufferer. Treatments for scabies with creams and lotions are usually repeated after seven days to ensure that all the eggs have been killed.
After treatment, scabies sufferers will still experience itching for up to several weeks. Although the mites are killed quickly with the cream or lotion, the scabies symptoms usually linger on. It is important to take note of this. Often scabies sufferers assume that the itching means that the treatment was ineffective and they use the insecticidal treatment sooner or more often than recommended. This will only lead to increased skin irritation, more serious skin problems, and possibly other health problems. In most cases the treatment was indeed effective and overuse of the treatment was not at all necessary. Follow the physician’s recommendations and the instructions on the use of the medication carefully. Once the mites have been killed with the scabies treatments, the infested individual is no longer contagious.
Extra caution with insecticidal treatments should be practiced when such products are being used on young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, elderly people, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Close consultation with a physician is strongly recommended for these cases.
Sometimes the physician may prescribe certain oral medications as treatment for scabies. This is usually done when creams and lotions are ineffective.
Practicing proper prevention will help reduce or eliminate the spread of scabies from person to person. First of all, a person with scabies should be isolated from other people. This involves not attending school, daycare, or the workplace for at least one full day after the first treatment. Avoiding physical contact with infested individuals is a must. This also includes contact with infested clothing, towels, and bedding. The clothing, bedding, and towels that have been in contact with the scabies sufferer should be laundered using the hot washing and hot drying cycles. Temperatures over about 126 degrees Fahrenheit or 52 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes will kill the mites and their eggs.
For clothing or other items that cannot be washed in hot water, then dry cleaning is an option or the items can be sealed in a plastic garbage bag for a week. This is enough time for the mites to die at room temperature when separated from their human host. In the house, carpets, furniture, etc., can be well vacuumed instead of using toxic compounds such as insecticidal sprays. It is a good idea to discard the vacuum bag afterwards.