Scabies refers t an infectious skin disease that is caused by a species of very small mites. This disease is not specific to a certain part of the world. It is also not specific to a given group of people. It is found everywhere. It is usually spread through direct contact with an infected person. It can also be spread through sharing of clothes and beddings. It is a very contagious disease and when one member of a family is infected, it can spread quickly to other family members. Sometimes, it is even spread to neighboring families. In most cases, scabies outbreaks are reported in nursing facilities, nursing homes, and even child care units. Mites responsible for this disease lay eggs after burrowing beneath the human skin. The burrow formed by the eggs deposit looks like a mark made using a pencil. It usually takes 21 days for these eggs to mature and this result to itchy rash that forms as the body respond to the infection of these mites.
Causes of Scabies
Scabies is basically caused by a mite known as sarcoptes scabiei. It is spread by having a skin contact with an infected person. You may know someone who is infected by looking at their skin. The main causes of scabies include the following:
- Having contacts with animals and pets such as dogs and cats.
- Sharing a swimming pool with an infected person or pet.
- Sharing towels, clothing and bedding with someone who is already infected.
- You can also get scabies by having contact with an infected person. This is because the mite causing scabies is found beneath the skin. It is common in wrinkled parts like on the elbows, knees and knuckles. Scratching or touching an infected person in such areas can result to infections.
- Handshakes and hugs are some of the common contacts through which scabies is spread.
- Living in crowded areas can also cause infections because contacts are very common in such places.
- You can also have scabies by having sex with an infected person. This is because you cannot avoid contact in such a situation.
Knowing possible ways through which you can get scabies infection is very important. It helps you avoid them and even help your family members avoid infection as well. This is of great essence because if one member of your family is infected, probability of others getting infected is also very high. The disease circulates between people who always have close contacts.
Symptoms of Scabies
Being a skin disease, scabies is very easy to identify. Once these mites have burrowed themselves beneath the skin, they start laying eggs that forms rushes in the infected areas. However, it might take some time before you notice these symptoms.
Among the major signs that can tell you that some one has scabies include;
- Itching which starts one to four days after the infection. The body may take time before it starts responding to the mite infection. However, after sometime the rushes that develop become itchy. An infected person may even be unable to sleep and might spend the entire night awake due to the itching.
- Sores: An infected person may be unable to avoid scratching their body due to this itching. The result of this is development of sores on the infected parts of the skin. These sores can act as entry point for disease causing micro organisms. This may cause secondary infections.
- Rash: Scabies rash are very common on the skins of the infected persons. The rash may result to some bumps on the skin which forms in a line. The bumps are identifiable by the hives look. They also look like tiny bites or knots beneath the skin in some people. There are cases where these rashes look like ordinary pimples only to develop later. In some people, rashes may look scary with patches similar to those of people with eczema infections.
- Thick crusts: These forms when scabies is at its severe stages of development. The most common type of scabies that result to these symptoms is referred to as crusted scabies. It is also called Norwegian scabies by some people. The crusts are houses where mites have laid their eggs. They can have hundreds and thousands of eggs. These later develop into mites making the infection more severe. Someone with this level of infection experiences more itching and sores.
- People with severe infections are always scratching their skin. This is because itching is always continuous. Parts of the body that are itchier include the elbows, wrists, hands between the fingers, and part of the skin that is covered by jewelry.
Although at first you my not be able to identify scabies, its symptoms become clear once it has spread to major parts of the body that it targets.
Scabies Home remedies
Home remedies for scabies are very important. This is because this disease is very contagious and if one member of a family is infected, most likely even others will be infected. Therefore, it is important to know how this disease can be controlled at home. Among the most common home remedies for scabies include the following; Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies that you can try.
- Tea Tree Oil: This should be mixed with witch hazel about 90ml. The mixture is then applied on the areas affected by the mite causing scabies. It is advisable to apply this mixture every time one has a shower or a bath. The mixture has been proven to end itching and sores that develop from constant scratching.
- Try This– Oil mixed with sulfur cream has also proven to work as an effective home remedy for scabies. This should be applied on the infected parts every time after as shower or bath.
- Lemon Juice and Sulfur Soap– Lemon juice and sulfur soap have also been used as home remedies and proven to cure scabies on their own.
- Alcohol and Lavender Oil– Alcohol when combined with lavender oil in its pure form can also cure scabies. This combination has been proven as being among the most effective home remedies for scabies. However, it is important to make enough mixture and apply it on the skin. To cure scabies, this mixture must penetrate the skin to where mites and eggs are. It works by killing both mites and their eggs. Thus, it must penetrate through the skin to be effective.
- Cold Water– Cold water has also proven to be an effective remedy for scabies. It helps in reducing itching on the affected parts. When some people have scabies infection, the itching can be very severe. Some are even unable to sleep. However, when cold water is used on the infected parts, it has proven to ease this itching. You may use a washcloth that is also cold to apply ice on the infected part.
- Topical Creams– here are also topical creams that can be applied on the infected part from home. These are manufactured with components that help in killing mites. However, such creams are effective when use with other home remedies.
- Vitamin E– Vitamin E has also been used as an effective home remedy for scabies. Scabies is usually a skin disease and Vitamin E plays an important role in the growth and proper functioning of the skin. This vitamin helps in healing sores that develops on the skin and also facilitating the healing process of other home remedies.
- Onion Skin- Onion is among some of the most effective remedies that have been used in the treatment of scabies for a long period of time. The main reason that makes Onion skin an effective herbal remedy for scabies is because of its richness in quercertin. This contains healing and soothing effects that are able to assist in eliminating the symptoms of scabies. Simply boil six onions in a pot of water for a bout 30 minutes. Take the onions from the pot and cool them then slowly rub over the areas that are infected.
- St. John's Wort- This is another effective herbal remedy for scabies. In order to experience the healing properties of St. John's Wort on scabies, the patient should apply it four times a day for at least one week. It mainly helps in relieving the itching sensation of scabies. The other way through which you are able to use this herb in the treatment of scabies is extracting its juice while it is fresh from the farm. The juice should then be applied onto the affected areas four times a day for a period of up to seven days.
- Neem and Tumeric- Neem has natural antiseptic properties that make it an ideal remedy for scabies. On the other hand, Tumeric root is also very rich in curcumin which is a natural ingredient used in combating various skin infections. Mix four fresh Neem leaves with one Tumeric root in order to come up with an effective scabies remedy.
- Margosa- Mainly grown in India, Margosa is also a very effective herb in the treatment of scabies. The oil extracted from Margosa should be applied over the affected areas on the skin then massaged slightly to ensure that the oil penetrates into the skin. The oil is able to inhibit bacteria and fungus.
Diet for Scabies
Although diet may not have a big role to play in curing scabies, it can help in boosting the immune system. This is very important because it strengthens the body helping it in fighting the infections. Some foods have antibacterial properties that can be of great help in a person suffering from scabies. They include the following;
- Some categories of nuts
- Fresh juice made from vegetables
- Garlic and onion
- Organic fruits in their organic form such as apple, pineapple and orange
- Milk is also important for someone with scabies
Although these foods could be easy to find, it is important to ensure that they will not have negative impact on you. Therefore, if you suffer from any other medical condition such as diabetes, it is important to consult your doctor before adopting a new diet.
Prevention of Scabies
Scabies is a contagious disease that is commonly spread through contact with infected persons. It can be prevented by avoiding places and conditions that lead into contact with infected persons. Some of the preventative measures that can be adopted include;
- Avoid sharing towels, beddings and even clothing with infected persons
- Avoid crowded places when there is a scabies outbreak
Pets should also be kept clean and their movements observed to avoid possible infections.
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