BEWARE home remedies for scabies !!

BEWARE! Many internet sites irresponsibly hawk a lot of “holistic remedies” and “natural treatments” that supposedly cure scabies.  Be forewarned, these gimmicky over-the-counter solutions do not work!

  • aloe vera gel
  • anise seed oil
  • balsam
  • bleach baths
  • calamine lotion
  • camphor
  • cayenne pepper
  • clove oil
  • coconut oil
  • colloidal metals
  • evening primrose oil
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • karanja
  • lavender oil
  • menthol
  • nail polish
  • neem oil/leaves
  • rosemary oil
  • rubbing alcohol
  • sulphur soap
  • tea tree oil
  • tiger balm
  • turmeric
  • vinegar
  • zinc

Some of these proposed remedies were based on old wives tales and folklore. Others are from unscrupulous vendors who are trying to sell a product. But most seem to come from anecdotal reports by ‘natural remedy’ fanatics who don’t know what they are talking about.

Some reports of alleged “success” may come from people who didn’t really have scabies at all – or from those who reported a “cure” prematurely without returning back later to admit they were wrong. Behind many of these remedy list sites are “natural” fanatics who repeat this bunk because they are religiously convinced that “chemical” treatments are bad.

Scabies are microscopic body “mites” that burrow into human skin causing both bites and severe itching – particularly at night. These tiny anthropoid insects (related to spiders and crabs) also cause an allergic reaction that triggers skin tenderness and an hive-like rash and welts that mimic other skin disorders, like shingles.

Ordinary rashes go away by themselves, but not scabies: it’s an infestation of tiny bugs that will continue to worsen for a long time, hence its old nickname, the seven-year-itch.

Learn from my mistake!

Don’t mess around with scabies, it is a serious insect infestation inside your skin and it requires a serious treatment regimen with real insecticides. Don’t play games with your health: serious problems require serious solutions.

After many weeks of itchy pain and sleepless nights, I finally figured out that my rash was caused by scabies. Tell-tale thread-like lines in the skin showed where the bugs were burrowing. Not knowing any better, I wasted several weeks attempting to cure the problem with these worthless home remedies – with no improvement.

After I got serious here’s how I solved the problem:

#1. Safe and mild insecticide called “permethrin” is available at the pet store in the form of flea and tick treatment for dogs. It is synthetically produced to match a substance in Chrysanthemum flowers. Mix that ointment with a body lotion to dilute it down to around 8%-10% strength and apply it to your entire body. You’ll experience immediate relief as most of the “lice” die right away.

#2. The insecticide is oily and doesn’t permeate the skin very well which is part of the reason why it is so safe to use. However, that also means that many of the eggs and bugs deep under the skin will not be killed by the treatment. After a couple weeks you might think you are cured, but you aren’t. The bugs can continue to hatch out of their burrows daily for up to 40 days or more, so you really should continually reapply the mixture daily for that entire time.

#3. If you do stop for a time, the bugs most resistant to permethrin will be the ones that survive and then re-emerge and multiply. You don’t want this to happen! The colony that infests you after that will not respond as well and you’ll have to up the dosage a lot and/or use different treatments.

#4. Initially the body fails to recognize the bugs as intruders and so they build up their colony during that delay, but re-infestations cause immediate allergic reaction. Anticipate that a few stubborn eggs remain in the skin like time-bombs ready to hatch late long after you think you are cured.

#5. To deal with ‘mother ship’ burrows under the skin use another insecticide called imidacloprid (often coupled in the flea treatment with moxidectim). Imidacloprid mimicks nicotine – the natural pesticide found in Tobacco plants. It is water-soluble and reaches down much further into the skin to kill the bugs and eggs in the burrows. Put concentrated drops right were the welts are located until they die off in their burrow. It can also be diluted with lotion for an all-over treatment if a permethrin-resistance shows up.

#6. As on-going treatment to keep up even long after you are “cured” watch carefully the old locations on the skin where the scabbies eggs were located for any new allergic reactions and tell-tale itching indicating that perhaps some old eggs have hatched late. Kill the bugs immediately with a few drops of imidacloprid on the red pimple. A year later I’ve had to do this several times and noticed that it immediately eliminated the irritation. I think these late-emerging eggs are part of the bug’s survival strategy. Be diligent to nip the spots in the bud until they are permanently gone.

[By the way, I’m pretty sure I got infected by placing my bare arms on a desk at the public library where homeless are known to hang out. From now on I’m going to keep wet-wipes handy to clean off any surfaces before I touch them.]

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DISCLAIMER: This blog-post recounts personal experiences that may not apply to others. The information does not come from a licensed physician, has not been approved by the government, and does not constitute medical advice, or instructions to cure any disease. For “authentic” medical advice talk to your doctor.



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