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Scabies – All You Need to Know
Scabies is a very uncomfortable, contagious skin condition commonly seen in children and young adults. It is caused by a mite, known as Sarcoptes Scabiei, which can survive up to a month living on human skin.
In babies and toddlers, the most commonly infected areas are the head, face, neck, hands, and soles of the feet. Common sites for the rash in older children and adults include the wrist, elbow, armpit, nipple, penis, waist, buttocks, and the area between the fingers.
After the initial exposure to scabies, it can take up to six weeks for symptoms to appear. The symptoms usually develop more quickly in people who have had scabies before.
The hallmark symptoms of scabies include a rash and intense itching that gets worse at night. Continuous scratching of the infected area can create sores that become infected. There would also be intense pain and redness around the infected area. There can be swelling and blisters, too.
The rash itself may consist of tiny blisters or pimple-like bumps. The burrow tracks of the mite can also be seen on the skin. They may appear as tiny raised or discolored lines.
Some people may develop another form of scabies known as Norwegian scabies or crusted scabies, which is more severe and extremely contagious. The crusted scabies develops thick crusts of skin that contain thousands of mites and eggs. Crusted scabies usually develops in people with weakened immune systems as in people with HIV or AIDS, or who use steroids or other treatments such as certain medications for rheumatoid arthritis, or people who are undergoing chemotherapy.
Scabies may be spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact, such as holding hands, intimate personal contact, such as having sexual intercourse, and by sharing clothing, bedding, or towels that have been used by someone with a scabies infection.
Since scabies is mostly transmitted through direct physical contact, the infestation can easily be passed on to family members, friends, and sexual partners. The infestation may also spread quickly in schools, nursing homes, sports teams, and prisons.
Physical inspection of the affected area of skin may be enough to diagnose scabies. In some cases, confirmation can be done by removing a mite from the skin with a needle or by scraping off a small section of skin to obtain a tissue sample for examination under a microscope to confirm the presence of scabies mites or their eggs.
Tea Tree Oil
This anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antibacterial, antifungal and wound-healing oil is good to treat scabies. Mix one tablespoon each of tea tree oil and olive oil. Use a cotton ball to apply the solution on the affected area twice daily for two to three weeks. It will help decrease swelling and pain while speeding up the healing process. Alternatively, add 10 to 12 drops of pure tea tree oil to a bathtub of lukewarm water. Take a bath in this water twice daily for a few weeks.
Note: Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using tea tree oil. Also, tea tree oil can irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, test the treatment on a small area first.
Neem oil is a botanical pesticide used to treat many skin problems including scabies. The smell of neem oil prevents scabies mites from reproducing, which can greatly shorten the duration of the problem. Pure neem oil can be directly applied on the affected area and massaged gently until the oil penetrates deep into the skin. Wait a few minutes and then take a bath. Do this once daily for several weeks to prevent the infection from spreading.
Make an antiseptic cream by combining two ounces each of neem oil and freshly ground turmeric powder. Apply the cream on the affected area two or three times a day. This homemade cream helps soothe itching and speeds up the healing process.
Neem Leaves also can be used to cure scabies. They reduce itching and can clear the mites within only a few days. Make a paste out of a handful of fresh neem leaves by crushing them with a pestle and mortar. Wash the affected area thoroughly and then apply the neem paste. Let it dry naturally and then take a bath to wash it off. Do this daily to speed up the healing process. You can also boil some neem leaves in a cup of water and let it cool to room temperature. Drink one tablespoon of this liquid three or four times a day. Repeat this for a week or two to make sure the mites are gone completely.
This spice can greatly relieve the symptoms of scabies. Mix one tablespoon of turmeric powder and a few drops of lemon juice and water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on the affected skin and leave it on for about an hour. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily until you notice significant improvement.
Mix one teaspoon each of turmeric and neem powder. Add some water to form a smooth paste. Dab the paste on the affected areas and let it dry on its own. After it has dried, take a bath or shower to wash it off. Repeat this once daily.
The acidic nature of white vinegar changes the pH level of the skin. It has been found that any change in the pH level causes the mites to die.
Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water thoroughly in a bowl. Using a cotton ball, apply the solution on the affected skin. Leave it on for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat three times daily for 10 to 15 days to fight the infection completely.
Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected skin. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this two to three times daily for a few weeks until you notice improvement.
Grind a handful of calendula petals along with a pinch of turmeric powder. Add two tablespoons of aloe vera gel and mix it well. Apply the paste on the affected skin and let it dry on its own. This can be done twice daily for a few weeks for complete recovery.
Try any of these home remedies and get rid of this agony known as scabies.