Treatment for Scabies – Patient Considerations

People with scabies want to find a treatment for scabies as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments available that can kill those annoying scabei mites – and can kill them fairly quickly. This article will educate patients on the disease and the choices treatment choices that are available to them.

What is Scabies?

It’s important for patients to understand the affliction that they’re dealing with; accordingly, some background information may be helpful.

Scabies is caused by the sarcoptes scabies mites, which burrows under the skin of its host and causes an intense allergic reaction (and intense itching). It is most commonly acquired through sexual intercourse in the industrialized world, but is much more common and easy to acquire in the developing world, due to more crowded living conditions. The disease may also be transmitted by any kind of close contact.

The sarcoptes scabei mite has a particular affection for hairless skin, and rarely travels past a host’s upper neck. The mite also has a proclivity for crevices on the arms and legs of patients. Other areas of the body that the scabei mite may prey upon include: the armpits, genitals, buttocks, chest, and between fingers and fingernails.

There is a particularly nasty variety of scabies, and that is crusted scabies, which was once known as Norwegian scabies. Patients with crusted scabies may be infected with thousands or millions of scabei mites, compared to the 10-15 mites involved in a normal scabies infestation.

Scabies has been referred to as the seven year itch. Thankfully though, it won’t last anywhere near that long nowadays if it’s treated.

Patient Considerations – First-Line Treatments vs. Natural Remedies

Patients may be tempted to seek natural remedies or other holistic solutions while in pursuit of an effective treatment for scabies. And although most doctors certainly wouldn’t advise patients to take this route, there are some natural scabies treatments out there that do appear to be effective.

Natural Scabies Treatment – Why its Advocated by Some

Advocates of natural solutions for scabies would likely encourage patients to seek these natural treatments due to the fact that permethrin — the primary treatment for scabies in the industrialized world — is a pesticide. Another reason some people are wary of permethrin is because the EPA has concluded that it is, most likely, a weak carcinogen (substance that causes cancer). Still, it should be noted that the EPA does approve permethrin as a scabies treatment (among other things) and it is largely considered to be safe.

Tea Tree Oil and Sulfur Solutions

Natural solutions for scabies, including tea tree oil and various sulfur solutions, have shown quite a bit of promise as viable treatment options of the future. Sulfur solutions are generally considered to be a bit more effective than tea tree oil, at this point, and they are prescribed fairly frequently to pregnant women and infants.

There are, of course, many proponents of the natural approach to scabies treatment. Moreover, many patients prefer these natural products over pesticides. For those interested, one of the more popular otc sulfur remedies for scabies is the Naturasil Scabies Treatment Starter Pack, which contains a variety of sulfur soaps, bath washes, and creams.

Standard Treatment Options

Most members of the medical community are reluctant to recommend natural remedies to their patients, with the possible exception of sulfur solutions, because there have been very few medical trials that have tested these solutions on an empirical level. Permetrin, as was mentioned previously, is the most prescribed treatment for scabies in the industrialized world. Ultimately, it’s up to patients to decide which treatment option is right for them.

Permethrin – Application Instructions

Showers generally aren’t recommended anymore prior to applying permethrin, but patients should check with their psycian about this, as it may be recommended in some cases.  (should they choose to take it, obviously). In adults, permethrin is applied form the neck down. It should be left on the body overnight (8-14 hours). In most cases, only one treatment via permethrin will be necessary, though a subsequent round of treatment may be prescribed 10 days or so after the initial one.

Considerations – After a Scabies Diagnosis

Patients should realize that doctor’s typically recommend that anyone with whom a patient with scabies has been in contact should also be treated for the affliction. This could include roommates, family members, sexual partners, etc. Undoubtedly, it may be embarrassing for some patients to disclose their scabies diagnosis to others, but doing so may prevent these people from having to suffer from any symptoms of scabies (it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to manifest). Related reading: home scabies treatment (article with tips on disinfecting the household after an infestation).


Treatment for scabies is undoubtedly required for all patients who come down with the irritating affliction. Natural, sulfur products, such as Naturasil, may be a viable and preferred approach for some patients. Others may want to go for traditional approach and take permethrin. Consulting with a doctor about your decision is always recommended.

Next—–> Home Scabies Treatment – How to Properly Clean the Household After a Scabies Infestation.

Treatment for Scabies – More Related Topics:  Scabies Treatment Over the Counter, Natural Scabies Treatments, Permethrin, Scabies Treatment.


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