“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates
Scabies, or the common itch as it is also known, is a very common, non-dangerous skin ailment caused by mites. This is a very contagious ailment that is often seen in children where they catch it from one another in the classroom and on the playground. It is passed on by close contact. However, adults can get scabies too, many times as a result of sexual contact, although not always the case.
The symptoms of scabies can be seen as tiny angry red raised spots in the folds of the skin most of the time where the female mite has burrowed her way in and laid her eggs.
Most commonly scabies can be found in the webs of skin between fingers, under armpits, in the groin area, in the arm bend between forearm and upper arm, and at the wrist.
However, it can also be found on backs of legs, shoulders, on the
buttocks and between the breasts in women. These spots cause severe
Although initially the skin will only have a few isolated spots, this soon grows, and if left unattended can look like a bad case of eczema. On top of that, if the infected person continues to scratch so that the pustules then open and become infected, the skin will be crusty and could end up with scars.
The life cycle of the scabies mite is that she can lay between 50-300 eggs over a lifetime of 6-8 weeks. The eggs hatch after 9 days and then these, in turn lay eggs, and so the problem increases.
Firstly, if there are scabies in the family, all towels, clothes and bedsheets should be washed at a very high temperature. Any items that cannot be washed at high temperatures can be placed in plastic bags for 4-7 days. Mites usually don't last off the skin past 4 days. However, it is important that we leave the clothing items or whatever in the bags for as long as 7 days to be on the safe side.
There is a way of getting rid of these scabies mites, and controlling the spread of these parasites is as important as the treatment. There is nothing you can take internally, all scabies remedies use external methods.
There are 3 Ways to Get rid of Scabies Mites:
1) Drowning them
2) Poisoning them
3) Smothering them
There are several things that you need to do to try and get rid of scabies. The first one is to make sure that you have agitated the skin enough so as to try and dislodge the mites from their nesting areas. This can be done using either a loofah or a body scrub.
We suggest using plain
coarse salt. Rub this over the body, paying particular attention to the
infected, itchy areas. Try and rub at the skin for about 10 minutes, and
then leave on the areas for about 30 minutes. The problem here,
however, is to make sure that you rub hard enough to dislodge the mites,
but not hard enough that you end up breaking open the pustules.
After that you need to climb into a hot bath. The mites cannot live in a temperature higher than 45-50 degrees C (122 F). Because mites don't survive in high temperatures, having a hot bath, as hot as you can stand, will kill any surface mites and those that you have managed to bring to the surface with your scrubbing.
Stay in the hot bath for 60
minutes, allowing the dead skin cells to be removed, which helps with
other mites that may be deeper in that you haven't managed to dislodge
earlier. Add more hot water to your bath when it cools, to maintain the
high temperature. This is your first treatment of the 3 phases, drowning
Get out of the bath, and dry your skin very well, trying to remove as much of your dead skin cells as possible. Place towel to be washed in hot water, immediately.
This is the second phase, and as important as the first.
Tea tree oil is totally natural, but helps with the scabies mites. If you are in a tropical area where you have access to the neem tree, neem oil also works well. But, if you are like me, and live in the cold northern hemisphere, then finding a neem tree in your backyard is not going to happen.
The mites don't like the smell of tea tree oil, or lavender oil
for that matter, and so if you treat the area with either of these
essential oils the mites will go elsewhere. Apply this after your bath
on dry skin.
Now you can apply one of the homemade remedies for scabies below for smothering them. This is done using either Vaseline or a homemade mustard cream.
Mustard Cream Recipe for Scabies
Take 1 tablespoon of mustard powder (you can either buy this at the supermarket in cans or you can grind your own mustard powder by placing the whole seeds in a coffee grinder). Add a couple of tablespoons of lard and make a cream out of the mixture. Lard is pig fat, the best being around the kidneys, although any pork fat will do.
You can render
lard by boiling it up in water. The fat can then be skimmed off and
allowed to cool before using. This is the smothering them stage. Apply
thickly twice a day. Wrap the area afterwards in cling film if you can.
This further cuts out any air to the little suckers, and keeps the cream
on for longer. Otherwise try and sit still for at least 10 minutes
after you have first applied it.
If you don't have the inclination to make the mustard cream, you can apply a thick coating of ordinary Vaseline. That works just as well.
Repeat this process
again, 24 hours later, and then once more 8 hours later. This should
complete the treatment. You cannot do this treatment longer than this on
consecutive days because your skin will not withstand the constant
However, if you wanted to, you could repeat the process again, 10 days later to make sure that any new eggs haven't hatched.
If you find that you are still itching a couple of days after you have finished the treatment, don't worry, as this is quite normal. However, if you find that you are still itching 2 weeks after the treatment, it could mean that you are still infected.
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