Scabies

Scabies are tiny mites living on the skin and feeding off dead skin cells.

Symptoms

Persistent, itchy rash – worse at night
Located between the fingers or around the wrists, elbows, navel, nipples, lower abdomen, and genitals
Clusters of small red lumps
Very fine red wavy lines may radiate from the lumps
Dry, scaly skin
Bacterial infection may occur if scratching causes the skin to break

Causes

Scabies mites need a human host in order to survive and are most common in environments such as nursing homes and childcare centres as they are transferred to other people via close personal contact. Symptoms usually appear two weeks after infestation.

The female parasite burrows under the top layer of the skin to lay her eggs – the small clusters of bumps are the eggs under the skin.

Natural Therapies

Chickweed ointment may help to relieve the itching
Try applying diluted tea tree oil to the rash to kill the infestation

Lifestyle Factors

All household surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned and treated as scabies can live on any surface for about three days. Clothing and bedding should also be treated and disinfected. Store stuffed animals and other hard-to-wash items in air-tight bags for at least a week.

Remedies

Practice scrupulous personal hygiene if anyone in the household contracts scabies, and follow the procedures listed above to prevent the mites passing on to others.

Important Notes

Consult your healthcare professional if your lesions ooze fluid or show other signs of infection, and to discuss the options available for severe or resistant infections.

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