If you have acquired scabies, there is no way you are not going to feel itchy and tempted to scratch. But as doctors would suggest, you should not be scratching. This is suggested primarily for two reasons. One, by scratching you are only digging the scabies mites deeper into the skin, and two, by scratching you are likely to spread mites from one place to another on the body and also probably into the environment, which could mean scabies spreading to people around you.
Avoiding scratching on the mite infested area may just seem out of the question, especially when your body is shouting out to you and asking you to scratch the itching area. In such a scenario you are left with no choice but to scratch and scratch so much that you feel relieved. But this is not one time. Itching will only intensify with scratching and also increase chances of spreading scabies to others.
In that case, if you really want to scratch – understandably, you cannot control yourself from scratching - you must scratch safely. In the sense, you must scratch in the safest way so that you don’t end up spreading the infection to other parts of the body or to anyone else in your vicinity.
Tips to scratch safely
It is advised that you coat your hands (the nails especially) with clove oil or tree oil. Applying essential oils on the hands before you scratch can help avoid mites from traveling from your infested area to other parts of the body or into the environment.
Coat the hands in essential oils before hitting the bed (scabies itching is the most intense at night). By doing so when you scratch, your hands will potentially kill scabies mites instead of attracting them to the dead skin underneath your finger nails.
The oil is good for your dry skin (left dry by the mites burrowed under the skin) and it also help in avoiding the spreading of scabies mites into the other parts of the body. It also minimizes the risk of scabies transferring into the home or office environment.
In addition to applying oil on the hand, there are a few other lesser effective things that you can adhere.
Have your nails cut short? When you scratch, mites from the burrows stick to the dead skin under your nails and are transferred to whatever you touch after scratching. Having the nails cut short, you are not going to damage the skin much while scratching, and you will be leaving a very little space for the mites to attract to under the nails.
In addition, it is advisable to wash hands thoroughly with soap after scratching (it may not be possible when you are scratching unaware in sleep), but you can do it whenever you’re awake and scratching. Staying clean, allows you to avoid scabies mites from spreading in the environment.
Applying caladryl on the infected area at regular intervals can also help reduce the itching, which should mean a reduction in scratching.