Scabies – symptoms, causes and treatment
An itching in a body part, which tends to continue, then let up, then continue again. Almost never occurring above the neck, it is most commonly found in hands, finger webs, wrists, elbows, underarms, waist, and feet. In men, it may also occur in the scrotum and penis; in women, the nipples are most often affected.
Scabies is an infectious skin disease caused by an almost microscopic mite, called Sarcoptes scabiei. Although he is a little fellow, you know he is there.
Scabies is found on all social levels. Contact, even by a handshake, is all that is needed to acquire it. It can also be transmitted through clothing and bed linen. It is more common in older adolescents and young people, and in girls rather than boys. People can also get it from touching dogs, other animals, or their bedding. It is a special problem in institutions, such as nursing homes, etc.
Scabies can only be accurately diagnosed by taking skin scrapings and viewing them under a microscope. If one person in a family has them, it is generally well to treat everyone. Children under 15 are often the first to contract them.
• Mix flowers of sulphur with petrolatum (petroleum jelly). Sulphur is a poison, so do not swallow it! In addition, it will stain clothing and does not smell good. But it will work to kill the scabies mites. For children, use a 5% sulphur (5% sulphur and 95% petrolatum) mixture; for adults, a 10% mixture. Take a warm, soaking bath before applying the
mixture. Apply it for 3-5 nights before retiring. Cover from neck to toes. Have someone else apply it to you, so everything is covered.
• During this period, launder your clothes frequently, using hot water. The mite cannot survive temperatures above 120o F. for more than 5 minutes.
• To reduce the itching sensation soak in a cool bath, starch bath or oatmeal bath (see directions under Dry, Itching Skin); mix calcium gluconate with a little oil and apply to the area.
• Eat foods high in zinc, such as soybeans, sunflower seeds, whole-grain products, yeast, wheat bran, and blackstrap.
• Avoid processed, fried, and junk foods. Use no sugar, chocolate, soft drinks, alcohol, or tobacco.