Dr Cathy Stephenson: 'There has recently been a flurry of scabies' |  Stuff.co.nz

Scabies is a common skin problem in which a person can complain about intense itching and pimples like rash on the skin. It can occur to people of different age groups; however, it is very rare among infants. More than 2 million cases of scabies are reported annually in the US. It is very contagious and can spread easily from physical contact.

Scabies is caused by skin mites who live and reproduce in the upper layer of the skin. The presence of these skin mites results in severe itching. The intense itching may also lead to skin rash and redness. Scabies is treatable, and it does not go away on its own.

How Does Scabies Spread?

Scabies is extremely contagious and can easily spread through physical contact from one person to another. It can also spread easily among household members by sharing clothes, bedding, and towels. One may also get it from crowded areas such as hospitals.

Signs And Symptoms Of Scabies

Symptoms might become evident 4-8 weeks after infestation if it occurs for the first time. Symptoms usually appear much earlier in those people who have had it before. A person who is infected can spread scabies whether the symptoms have appeared or not. Common symptoms are

  • Severe skin itching
  • Itching is more intense during the night
  • Skin rash similar to pimples
  • Presence of tiny blisters or scales around the rash


Scabies can make a person very uncomfortable, and it happens because of intense itching. Scabies seldom goes away on its own, and it has to be treated. As soon as the symptoms begin to appear, contact your physician right away. In most cases, topical medication, generally anti-parasites, is prescribed.

These are applied all over the body and allowed to stay for at least 8-10 hours. This kills skin mites responsible for scabies, and it also destroys all eggs that may initiate the whole cycle again. The other way is oral medications. The doctor might recommend oral medication based on the skin condition.

Scabies And Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption can result in many skin issues such as dryness in the skin; it may even result in serious skin diseases like psoriasis. It is, therefore, an important question whether there is any connection between scabies and alcohol consumption. There is no scientific relation between these two; however, the excessive drinking habit may worsen the scabies itching.

Therefore, it is advisable to limit alcohol intake if you have scabies and are really looking to get rid of them. It is better to look for professional help around you in order to give up alcohol addiction. One may find different addiction treatment facilities within California in case if the person lives anywhere in California.

Home Remedies For Scabies

For a mild and initial stage of scabies, several home remedies are very useful in reducing the severity and intensity of itching. These remedies may give a bit of relief; however, these are not the ultimate cure for this condition. Most of these remedies are topical and hence have no side effects.

  1. Tea Tree Oil

There are many reasons to use tea tree oil in order to treat scabies. It is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, it has the ability to kill mites like those responsible for scabies, and it relieves itching. Though it is very effective in getting relief from rash and itching, it does not effectively work on mite eggs present deeper inside the skin.

Many studies confirm promising effects of tea tree oil against scabies. It might work for people, and it is a very easy and simple home remedy. Make sure that you are not allergic to tea tree oil if you are using it for the very first time. You may test it by applying it to a small patch of skin.

  1. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera is skin-friendly, and it offers countless benefits to the skin. You may grow Aloe Vera easily at your home. In addition to numerous skin benefits, aloe vera can also be used as an effective remedy for scabies. Its effectiveness can be understood by the fact the studies suggest that aloe Vera is as effective in treating scabies as benzyl benzoate.

This makes it a very useful remedy. Anyone can use this remedy without any serious harm and side effects. Also, it will help to heal marks and scars of skin sores resulting due to itching.

  1. Clove Oil

Clove oil is very effective against scabies because of its anti-insecticidal properties. Anti-microbial and anti-oxidative properties profoundly increase its healing power. Few animal studies also support the effectiveness of clove oil in killing scabies mites. However, more studies are required to establish this fact.

  1. Cayenne Pepper

Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper is considered very effective in reducing pain sensation as it desensitizes skin neurons. This feature makes cayenne pepper very useful against scabies. People also believe that it may possibly kill skin mites; however, this is not supported by any study.

  1. Neem

Neem comes in many forms, such as oil, soap, and creams. Regardless of its form, one may use it as an effective remedy against scabies. Neem has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Some studies have tested neem as a remedy to treat scabies in dogs. The results confirm the effectiveness of neem against scabies mites.

  1. Sulphur Ointment

Sulfur ointment is another effective remedy against scabies. A sulfur ointment can simply be applied over the skin to get rid of scabies mites. Be cautious in using it as a remedy if you are new to it. You may also seek guidance from your physician if you really want to use this remedy.

Take Away

Scabies is a skin problem that arises from skin mites. Personal hygiene has nothing to do with it. It is very contagious and can easily spread from one person to the other. In order to treat scabies, a person may use a variety of topical and oral medications.