Facts About Scabies
Excerpt from Chapter 16 of Steve Tvedten's book "The Best Control"

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Scabies

Scabies is a contagious (catching) disorder of the skin caused by very small, wingless insects or mites called the Human Itch mite or Scabies itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis (Hering). The female insect burrows into the skin where she lays 1 - 3 eggs daily. A very small, hard to see, zigzag blister usually marks the trail of the insect as she lays her eggs. Other more obvious symptoms are an intense itching (especially at night) and a red rash that can occur at the area that has been scratched. The most common locations for scabies are on the sides of fingers, between the fingers, on the backs of the hands, on the wrists, heels, elbows, armpits, inner thighs and around the waist (belt line). If untreated, the female will continue to lay eggs for about five weeks. The eggs hatch and the new mites begin the cycle all over again. The mites themselves are too small to be seen without magnification. One of the great problems with scabies always has been misdiagnosis. Scabies is spread by personal contact, e.g., by shaking hands or sleeping together or by close contact with infected articles such as clothing, bedding or towels. It is usually found where people are crowded together or have frequent contact, and is most common among school children, families, roommates, and sexual partners. Scabies can be spread by the insect itself or by the egg. Prompt action is required to rid a person of the insects and eggs. Sulfur has been used (6 - 10% in lotion or cream) since Roman times as a scabicide, but you might be allergic.

If you think your child or someone else in the family has scabies - Try a sauna and/or try bathing, washing or soaking in diluted Not Nice to LiceŽ Shampoo or Kleen KillŽ enzyme cleaners, sulfur and/or borax - then call your medical provider to be sure you are no longer infected.

If you are still infected, your medical provider or doctor may prescribe a pesticide (poison) lotion - use the prescribed (poison) lotion on the body (from the neck down) of the affected person(s). Follow the instruction on the bottle - very carefully. Try Not-Nice-to-LiceŽ shampoo and/or Kleen KillŽ enzymes and/or Kleen KillŽ peppermint soap and borax or a sauna first, if your doctor will allow it.

Repeat application of any poison lotion only according to the doctor's written instructions.

Examine all other family members carefully for the presence of scabies - use a magnifying glass.

To avoid reinfestation, all clothing, towels and bedding should be thoroughly laundered once all those with scabies begin their treatment. Use hot water over 120o F. (equal to hot tap water in most homes). Try washing in Kleen KillŽ enzyme cleaners and borax.

Combs, brushes, barrettes and anything with which your child has had contact should be soaked in hot water (over 120o F.) and Kleen KillŽ enzymes or borax for at least 15 minutes.

Periodically check your child for symptoms which may indicate reinfection. Expect the rash to clear up in about two weeks.

In most cases your child can return to school after the first treatment and after all clothing, towels and bedding have been washed.

Prevention
 


The above measures are suggested to help prevent reinfestation. However, even the medicated (poison) lotion treatment for scabies does not provide long-term protection and reinfestation is always possible. So watch and practice proper prevention - Remember to try to avoid the use of poison on your person or child at all costs. There has been some discussion of using ivermectin (orally) to control scabies.

Testing - According to the American Academy of Dermatology the most common test involves applying a drop of sterile mineral oil to the suspected lesion. The site is then scraped with a scalpel and the scrapings are transferred to a slide. Under a microscope, the doctor should be able to find scabies mites, their eggs and/or feces. Another option is an ink test, in which the doctor applies a blue or black felt-tipped pen to the suspected areas. Then the skin is cleaned. Mite burrows can be revealed if the ink sinks into them.

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