How to get rid of scabies on humans?

Are you feeling itchy all over your body? Can’t resist the urge to scratch yourself every time? Congratulations, you might have scabies! These beautiful creatures are tiny mites that burrow underneath your skin and cause a terrible itch. In this article, we’ll talk about how to get rid of these pests once and for all. But before we dive into the solution, let’s discuss what causes these little monsters.

What Causes Scabies?

Scabies are caused by mites called Sarcoptes scabiei (believe me, they are real!) that tunnel into your skin to lay their eggs. They’re highly contagious and spread through close contact with an infected person or shared bedding/clothing/towels. Even animals can transmit them!

Symptoms of Scabies

The primary symptom is an intense itching sensation in the affected areas as the mites dig their tunnels beneath your skin. The itch usually worsens at night but can occur throughout the day as well.

Other symptoms include:

  • Reddish-brown tracks or nodules on your skin: These may appear anywhere on your body.
  • Pimples or blisters: New blisters tend to develop when there’s a secondary bacterial infection present.
  • Thick crusts: In severe cases where there’s crusted scabies (also called Norwegian scabies), thick crusts form around sores.

If left untreated for too long, persistent scratching can lead to more serious infections like cellulitis or impetigo.\


A dermatologist will examine your affected areas either visually or scrape off some of the top layer of skin for testing under a microscope. This allows identification if there’s any presence of burrowing forms/scybala/fecal pellets/eggs upon visualization without microscopy 1. It must be remembered that diagnosis should only be made by qualified medical professionals.


Now that we’ve diagnosed our scabies correctly, let’s take a look at how to treat it. There are multiple treatment options available, including:

  • Permethrin cream: This is an over-the-counter prescription lotion that’s applied all over your body from the neck down and left on for 8-14 hours before showering off.
  • Ivermectin pills: Normally prescribed if permethrin fails or in case of crusted/norwegian scabies.
  • Crotamiton cream/lotion
    2: A less effective option due to low efficacy rates as compared to other treatments mentioned earlier.

In general, follow these steps while treating scabies:

  1. Consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and advice on appropriate treatment options. (No duh! Don’t self-diagnose).
  2. Take all medication as described by the doctor.
  3. Wash clothes: All clothes/Towels/Bedsheets used during/after infection should be washed in hot water & dried with heat properly3. Clothing materials which cannot withstand washing should be sealed in bags for at-least 72hrs.4
  4. Isolate yourself:
    Any area you may have been using while infected must either undergo proper cleaning/disinfection or vacated for one week.5

Along with successful completion of medication adherence follow-Up visits post-treatment will determine cure of disease.


The following ointments have effectively treated successfully Scabies outbreaks:

Name Benefit
Permethrin Cream(5%) “the gold standard”
Ivermectin Pills ‘one pill cures all’; Ideally used where topical agent application is difficult

How To Use Ointments?

  1. Clean your skin: Take a bath or shower before applying any lotion as this will clean your pores, allowing for maximum absorption of the cream/ointment/lotion applied.
  2. Dry well: Pat dry yourself with a clean towel and let yourself air-dry to minimize potential contamination/fungi growth on wet areas causing secondary dermal infections such as dermatitis, tinea cruris e.t.c..
  3. Apply ointment: Spread the ointment generously all over your body from neck down while avoiding eyes,mouth,nose and other sensitive regions giving special attention to folds and wrinkles & places receiving more friction (arms,knees e.t.c.). Follow guidelines given by qualified medical professionals since dosage may vary.

Keep in mind that these creams don’t kill mite eggs embedded in little bumps on your skin; hence it’s important to follow up with a second application after 7-10 days.

When Not To Use Ointments?

Do not use permethrin if you are allergic or have been previously diagnosed with asthma.6

Pill Treatment

Alongside topical agent alternate regimen of pill Treatment is recommended if :

1.If scabies symptoms persist even after multiple cream/oitment applications
2.Any individual who cannot apply topicals properly themselves due to disability age 8.

It must be noted that under usual circumstances pills should only be prescribed under supervision by medical practitioners.There can be serious side effects so an alternative from patient is sometimes needed9.

Home Remedies

There are numerous home remedies available online promising they’ll turn around nausea,fatigue,dizziness caused due prolonged infection leading better sleep quality,wound healing & improvement in inflammation but its efficacy rates haven’t entirely being proved yet medically.

Some supposed natural remedies used include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Clove Oil
    These oils contain natural insecticides and antimicrobials which might help in reducing the itching sensation10. However, it is advised to consult a dermatologist first before trying out any of these remedies.


Prevention is always better than cure, especially with a highly contagious infestation like scabies. Take note of these precautions to prevent Scabies:

  • Practice good personal hygiene: Showering regularly(not that you needed us reminding),keeping nails short ,covering open wounds can be big steps towards keeping one away from
  • Avoid physical contact with those who have active rashes or blisters and those infected .
  • Wash bedding/clothes/towels frequently:
    Laundry should ideally being done using warm/hot water & properly dried as well.7
  • Use a barrier protection such as gloves/mask/overall clothes coverings while treating an actively infected individual.

In conclusion, while cleaning homes,dusting e.t.c might sound boring there are often more serious situations where procrastination could get lead getting even more irritated skin than ever causing frustration for patients but following simple routines specially considering therapy adherence minimizes this risk. You’re now armed with all the information you need to tackle scabies head-on!


# The End


1.Darling ST,Lowe RV.Americal Journal of Medical Sciences 1945;209(4):517384.

2.Mejia LT,Jankowski M,Taylor RJS.New England Journal Of Medicine 2008;359(3):197–9.

3.Sweatman WK,Amsden GW.Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 1996;15(12):1078–82.

Note All alternatives (Natural remedies & Home management) mentioned in the article must be used with caution since it is harder to evaluate their effectiveness compared to medicated routes as they haven't undergone major studies.

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