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Pharmacy and Medications

What can I use to kill scabies on everything.

07/29/2005

Question:

How do I kill all scabies on furniture, beddings, floors, clohting and sink tops. and whats the best medication to use on your body to kill all scabies, also fcor the hair.......

Answer:

Scabies are little bugs (mites) that burrow into the skin where they lay eggs and eliminate their waste products. Local irritation and allergies are responsible for the commonly reported symptoms. Some patients may develop infections as a result of the infestation itself or subsequent to scratching the intensely itchy areas. Scabies are highly contagious and are spread via prolonged skin to skin contact or by fomites (contaminated towels, clothing and bedding). The mite can only live for 48-72 hours outside of a host.

Infestations are common world-wide, aftecting people of all races and social classes. The infestation resembles a pimple-like, zig-zag rash found especially in the folds of the skin on adults (i.e. wrist, elbow, knee, penis, nipples, shoulder blades, armpits and webbing of the fingers). Scabies can be found on the scalps, palms, and soles of infants but rarely on adults.

Intense itching is usually the first symptom. It may take up to 4-6 weeks for symptoms to appear in individuals without prior infestation, but only several days for patients with prior exposures. If you suspect that you or a family member has scabies, seek medical attention. Complications can occur such as bacterial infections due to excessive scratching. Itching may continue 2-3 weeks after treatment, and does not necessarily indicate treatment failure. Ask your health care provider about medications that may be used for the itching.

Treatment

There are no over-the-counter treatments for scabies. Do not use home remedies to treat scabies as they are likely to be ineffective and may be dangerous. See your doctor for a prescription cream or lotion that will work in one or two treatments. Typically, the medication is usually left on for at least 8 hours. However, be sure to follow the directions listed in the packaging or given to you by your physician. If the treatment is effective, no new rashes should occur within 24-72 hours of treatment.

There is no need to apply insecticides to clothing, bedding or environmental surfaces. All bedding, towels, and clothes used by the scabies-infested individuals should be washed in hot water and a typical laundry detergent. Clothes and bedding that can not be washed should be dry cleaned or left open and unused for 3-4 days. Abstain from sexual activity until treatment is completed successfully. Sexual partners and family members suspected to have scabies should be treated at the same time to prevent re-infestation. The whole house should be vacuumed and the bag should be discarded. It is highly unlikely that scabies can be transmitted by sink tops and furniture, so it is not necessary to use insecticide sprays.

Domestic animals (dogs and cats) have their own type of parasite that does not survive in humans. They can cause itching but can not reproduce under human skin and therefore are of less concern.

The keys to preventing reinfection of scabies are:

-Use medication exactly as directed

-Get treatment for all of the household and sexual partners

-Wash all clothes, bedding, and towels used within the last 3 days by the infected individual

-Vacuum floors

The Following website provides concise information about Scabies and its treatment: http://www.cdc.gov/scabies

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Response by:

Robert James Goetz, PharmD, DABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati