Scabies – a skin infestation caused by human mite Sarcoptes scabiei is extremely contagious, and can turn to be dangerous, if not treated timely. The reason is that the mites can easily be transmitted from person-to-person with direct contact. The scabies mites can survive for 48 hours even when not in contact with humans. So, if the belongings of the patients like towel, clothes, mattresses, contain any mites and a family member comes in contact with those mites can also contract scabies. Thus, scabies can be transmitted by both direct and indirect means.
Hence, immediate diagnosis and treatment is a must to prevent the worsening of the case of an already affected person and even to prevent its further transmission.
There are various creams and ointments recommended by the dermatologists and medical experts all over the world. Have a look.
- Permethrin 5% cream, also known as Elimite, is a popular recommendation to treat scabies. The cream is applied over clean and dry skin. Permethrin usually is required to settle on the skin for 10-14 hours and then washed off while bathing. It is best to apply permethrin at bedtime and then wash it off in the morning.
However, permethrin has several side-effects like itching, rashes, tightness in the chest, inflammation and difficulty in breathing too. As such, people today avoid using permethrin.
- Sulfur-based lotions or creams have been used and have proved to be very effective than other options. A popular example of sulfur based ointment is the Dr. Scabies. Dr. Scabies is completely safe, effective and has no side-effects. The fact that sulfur is really good for skin makes it the best to treat scabies. The only thing to consider is that it shouldn’t be used by those allergic to sulfur, which is quite obvious.
Less common prescription for Scabies
- Lindane cream is an older medication that is rarely used today because it is potentially toxic for the nervous system and leads to symptoms such as dizziness or seizures.
- Ivermectin pill is an oral medication that is active against scabies parasites. Although, it is not approved by FDA for use in scabies, but has been used in cases with very severe infestations like crusted scabies. Ivermectin should not be used with small children or in pregnant or lactating women to avoid risks.
- Malathion or Ovide is usually used for scabies treatment but is not approved by the U.S. FDA. It makes the skin feel irritated. It must be used only as directed and should be kept out of the reach of children because digestion may cause poisoning.
- Benzyl benzoate lotion is an older treatment for scabies but can be irritating to the skin, particularly in people with eczema.
- Crotamiton lotion or cream is FDA approved for use in adults to treat scabies. However, it’s not that effective and treatment failures with this drug are more common.
Applying the medication
It is important that all members of your household, friends and any close contacts are treated at the same time, even if they do not have any symptoms. Leaving them untreated can lead to re-infection or worsening the case.
- Treatment should be applied to dry skin with normal body temperature and not after a hot bath. Applying after a hot bath increases absorption into the body and reduces its treating caliber.
- Apply it to the entire body from the chin and downwards, paying particular attention to the areas between the fingers and toes and areas where there are skin folds is the right way to apply the creams. Treatment can be massaged under fingernails and toenails using an old toothbrush
- People with a weak immune system, elderly people and infants should apply the treatment to the whole body including the face and scalp and after consulting the doctor.
- Permethrin should be left on for eight to 12 hours.
- Malathion needs to be left on for 24 hours.
- If you wash your body part, say hands, you should reapply the treatment.
- Follow-up treatment after seven days is advised to make sure the treatment is successful. This ensures that if any mites that have hatched from existing eggs will be killed by the second application.