Scabies is a skin infection caused by the infestation of a mite known as the Sarcoptes scabiei. This condition causes itching eruptions and rashes. It usually affects the children and older adults but it can affect anyone if exposed to the mite. The causative agent is a microscopic mite which can live on the skin for a long time. The mites bite and burrow into the skin and lay eggs. It usually takes around five to six weeks for the symptoms to appear. It is one of the highly contagious skin infections and spread easily from person to person through close contact. Hence an outbreak is more common in schools and care homes.
It usually takes about 2 to 6 weeks for symptoms to appear after the exposure. The symptoms are
- Severe itching getting worse at night
- Rashes or eruptions especially in the folds of the skin
- Irritability and restlessness
- Difficulty to sleep
Sites of Infestation
The mites usually reside along the areas of skin folds such as the wrist, elbow crease, behind the knees, between the fingers and toes, groins, armpit and buttocks. In cases of infants the most common sites are, scalp, neck, palms and soles.
Scabies is caused by tiny mites called sarcoptes scabiei. These mites bite and burrow into the superficial layer of skin where they reside and reproduce. The female mites lay eggs in the burrows forming a tunnel from the surface leading beneath the skin. The newly hatched larvae migrate to the surface and spread to other people. The most common way of spreading is close personal contact and people who are more at risk are:
- Direct skin contact with infected people
- Day care or school children and their parents
- People who reside in care homes
- People who are immunocompromised and bedridden
- Sharing personal items such as clothing, bedding or towels
- Physical examination of the affected area of skin
- Examination of a tissue sample for mites or eggs
- A scabies ink test to detect the burrows and mites
- Avoid direct skin-to-skin contact and sharing personal items with an infected person.
- Wash and dry the clothes, towels and linen in hot water and dry heat.
- Clean the entire house including carpets, rugs, etc
Sores: due to repeated scratching of the skin and these sores can be infected with Staphylococcus aureus. This condition is called impetigo.
Crusted scabies: a severe form of scabies in which the person is affected by a huge number of mites causing thick crusts.
Homeopathic medicines used to treat Scabies
Sulphur: This is the best medicine for the treatment of scabies. Skin itchy and burning, worse at night and from wamth. The skin is dirty and unhealthy with tendency to pimples and eruptions. Intense itching and scratching especially during the night.
Sepia: It is one of the best remedies for scabies where the skin feels itchy but scratching provides no relief. Vesicular eruptions with intense itching. The complaint are worst in open air and is better in a warm room.
Arsenic Album: It is a very useful medicine for scabies with soreness, burning and dryness of the skin with scaling. The burning and itching worse at night with great restlessness and sleeplessness. The skin is very dry, peels off in large scales and is very sore to touch.
Causticum: It is indicated in cases of scabies with intense itching, burning and redness. Eruptions in the folds of the skin and between the thighs with burning, rawness and soreness.
Hepar sulph: It is indicated for crusty pustules on the hands, folds of the skin and the feet. The skin is sensitive to cold.
Lycopodium: It is effective for scabies on the groins and scalp. Intense itching aggravated by warmth. Yellow, moist pustules with intense itching ameliorated by cold application.
Kali Sulphuricum: It is indicated for dry skin with extreme itching. Scaling and flaking of the skin due to scabs.
Psorinum: It is indicated in cases of unhealthy skin with intolerable itching which gets worse in bed. Scratches the skin until it bleeds. Tendency to skin infections. The skin is greasy and dirty with scabs and violent itching.
Few of the best homeopathic products available in the market for the treatment of scabies are Schwabe India’s are Acidum sulphurosum MT, Balsam peru MT, Carum carvi MT and some of the topical creams are Topi Sulphur cream, Topi Heal cream, Topi Azadirachta cream, etc.