Few diseases carry so much social stigma as scabies. Scabies is an intensely itchy, contagious skin infection which mainly spreads through direct contact. Even its name is derived from a latin word SCABERE meaning “to scratch”.
This is a highly contagious disease known by other names such as crusted scabies, Itchmite, Mite and Mange, the seven year itch and Norwegian scabies. In Ayurveda Scabies is known as Kacchu. Dosha involvement in scabies or Kacchu Roga is Kapha dominant / leading to excessive itching.
It is caused by the Mite Sarcoptes Scabiei or Itch-Mite that is tiny and 8 legged. Scabies mites can survive without a human host for 24 to 36 hours. Female mites burrow in to the outer layer of the skin (Stratum Croneum) to lay eggs.
- The disease is transmitted from person by close body contact, particularly among family members.
- Scabies also spread rapidly in crowded conditions where there is frequent contact between people, such as in care homes or child care facilities.
- Sexual activity does however carry a particular high risk of transmission, among sexually active young people and scabies has been considered by many to be a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). However, other forms of physical contact such as mother hugging their children are sufficient to spread the mites. As with lice, scabies can be transmitted through sexual intercourse even if a latex condom is used, because it is transmitted from skin to skin at sites other than the sex organs
- Symptoms begin 2 to 6 weeks after infection, since it takes some time before the mite can penetrate the skin & reproduce.
- The disease is characterized by severe itching. It tends to be more marked in the night or after a hot bath. This is due to increased activity of the parasite because of the greater warmth generated in the body.
- The most vulnerable spots are buttocks, abdomen and webs of fingers, feet, toes, elbows, breasts in women and scrotum and groin area in men.
COMPLICATIONS OF SCABIES:
- Secondary bacterial infection
- Scabies may also lead to cellulites, resulting in redness, localized swelling and fever.
TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS FOR SCABIES:
The doctor examines the entire skin surface for signs of the problem and examines an area with a magnifying lens in a attempt to identify the mite.
Scabies can be accurately diagnosed by taking skin scrapings & viewing them under a microscope.
TREATMENT OF SCABIES:
- The recommended treatment is overnight application of a topical insecticide namely 5% permethrin cream all over the body from the neck down and covering every square inch of the body. Even areas that don’t seem to be infected must be treated. After overnight application it has to be washed off.
- Similarly Gramascab 1% lotion (Gamma Benzene Hexachloride) can also be used for local application.
- On the last day of treatment, collect all clothes towels and bed linen and boil them in soap water kill the mites to prevent reinfection.
- For total eradication of infection, all people in close contact, such as sexual partners or members of the household, should be treated as simultaneously, even if they are not yet showing any symptoms of infestation.
- Tetmosol Soap 5% to be used as a toilet soap.
- Ivermectin – is an oral medication effective in eradicating scabies often in a single dose.
- Parents should be explained about the nature of the disease and need to treat all family members at a time. Many a time this disease linger on for days together because all family members are not treated simultaneously.
- After the treatment is completed, all clothes and bed linen should be boiled, sunned and subjected to hot pressing in order to sterilize them and prevent reinfestation of the mites.
AYURVEDIC TREATMENT FOR SCABIES:
(External / Internal) In Ayurveda, the treatment of choice for scabies is application of a neem paste with turmeric. (i.e. 4 parts of neem & 1 part of turmeric After the scrub bath the neem turmeric paste is applied all over the body and allowed to dry. This treatment is done regularly for 8 – 10 days.
- Tea tree oil is one of the most popular remedies for eliminating scabies.
- Neem oil 6%In case of scabies neem oil prevents reproduction a fact that is very pertinent due to their short life cycles.
- The powder of bark of peepul is very useful in treating scabies.
- After a good bath with neem soap, Mahamarichadi oil should be applied on all parts of the body. This should be continued for atleast a week.
- Purified Sulphus (Gandhak Rasayan) is given 60-120 mg twice daily mixed with honey.
- Neem powder is given 500 mg twice daily.
- Rasamanitkya 120 mg to be taken twice daily.
- Khadirarishta, Raktadoshantak Kadha, having blood-purifying properties is also used to treat scabies.