Scabies Treatment in Santa Monica, CA
What Is Scabies?
Scabies is a highly contagious infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites burrow into your skin to lay eggs, causing an itchy, red rash. If not treated, scabies can lead to skin sores and an infection. Medications, such as skin creams, can be used to kill the mites and relieve uncomfortable itching.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare practitioner in Santa Monica who specializes in scabies treatment, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
What Causes Scabies?
The Sarcoptes scabiei mite is microscopic, millimeters in size; to the naked eye, one may appear as a tiny, black speck. Scabies is passed through close skin-to-skin contact with a person carrying the scabies mite and is sometimes considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) if the infestation is passed through sexual intercourse. Nonsexual transmission can occur when coming into contact with items such as infested clothing, bedding, or furniture.
Upon coming into contact with your skin, a female mite will burrow into your skin to lay her eggs. These eggs will hatch into about 10-15 larvae in 3-4 days, and reach maturity within 10-15 days. Once hatched, the larvae travel to the surface of the skin where they spread across the body and travel to others.
While anyone can get scabies, it is more common among the elderly, residents of extended-care facilities or nursing homes, individuals with compromised immune systems, and children in daycare or school.
Most scabies symptoms you experience are a result of your immune system attempting to attack the mites. Upon infestation, it can take 2-6 weeks for symptoms to appear; however, if you have experienced scabies previously, symptoms can appear more rapidly.
The most common sign of scabies is a skin rash of small, red bumps, hives or scabies bites. The burrow track of the mites can sometimes be seen as raised red lines. The scabies rash commonly appears on skin where the mites like to live, such as under rings, watch bands, bracelets, and fingernails, as well as on the:
- Waist and buttocks
- Folds in thighs and genitals
- Webbing between fingers and toes
- Bends at the wrists, elbows, and knees
- Breasts and nipples (especially in women)
Continuous scratching of these rashes can cause skin sores and infection, such as oozing, honey-colored blisters. In fact, an infection called impetigo is one of the most common complications caused by scabies.
How to Treat Scabies
In order to make a scabies diagnosis, a healthcare professional will perform a physical exam to check your skin rash, as well as to identify the presence of mites and their eggs or fecal matter (scybala) on your skin. To do this, either a mite can be removed from its burrow with a needle, or a skin scraping can be taken for further analysis. If a diagnosis is confirmed, scabies treatment is recommended to both you and anyone who is a household member, close contact, or sexual partner.
Killing the Mites
Scabies treatment usually involves the use of a permethrin cream. This prescription medication is an insecticide that kills the mites. The cream is applied to cool, dry skin on the whole body below the head, and in children, the lotion may need to be placed on the scalp. Since permethrin cream must be left on the skin for 8 to 14 hours before being washed off, often the best way to use the cream is to apply it to your skin at night, and then wash it off in the morning.
Other prescription scabicides that can be used include:
- Malathion lotion
- Benzyl benzoate lotion
- Sulfur ointment
- Crotamiton cream
- Lindane lotion
An oral tablet called ivermectin can be used for individuals who have crusted scabies, scabies that cover the majority of the body, or to address symptoms that have not improved from usual treatments.
Additional Scabies Treatments
Although the mites are killed in one permethrin treatment, your skin rash may take up to 4 weeks to disappear. Antibiotics can be used as a form of scabies rash treatment, as it can cure the infection caused by repeated scratching.
Common prescription medicine to help treat the itching caused by scabies include:
- Crotamiton cream or lotion
- Antihistamines, to help you sleep
- Hydrocortisone and other steroid creams
To relieve itching, you can also try soaking the infested area in cool water for about 10 minutes, patting the skin dry, and applying non-prescription calamine lotion. Since mites can survive about 2-3 days away from human skin, it is also recommended that you wash your bed linens, towels, and clothing in hot water and machine dry to prevent any future infestations.
Scabies is highly infectious and bothersome, but fortunately, the condition is easily treated. To make an appointment with a scabies specialist in Santa Monica, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
Vitality Integrative Medicine
Address4849 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm