Killing the scabies mites, treating anyone who has been in close contact with the infested person, and preventing the mites from returning are all aspects of treatment for scabies. Three lotions often used to treat an infestation are permethrin, lindane, and sulfur. Even after successful treatment, a person is not immune to scabies and can become reinfested if exposed to the mites again.
An Introduction to Scabies Treatment
The goals of treatment for scabies are:
- Kill the scabies mites (Sarcoptes scabiei)
- Treat any family members who have been in close contact with the infested person
- Prevent the scabies from returning.
Both the affected person and family members can be treated with the same medicine.
Medicines Used to Treat Scabies
Several lotions can be used for scabies treatment. Common ones include:
- Permethrin (Elimite® cream)
Always follow the directions provided by your physician or the directions on the package insert. Apply lotion to a clean body from the neck down to the toes, and leave on overnight (eight hours). After eight hours, take a bath or shower to wash off the lotion. A second treatment of the body with the same lotion may be necessary seven to ten days later.
For people with HIV or Norwegian scabies, ivermectin, which is taken by mouth, may be given to treat scabies.
It is important that all scabies eggs and mites be killed. So all clothes, bedding, and towels used by the infested person should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer two days before scabies treatment begins. No special cleaning is necessary for coats, furniture, rugs, floors, and walls.
Scabies Treatment for Significant Others
Anyone who is diagnosed with scabies (as well as his or her sexual partners and those who have close, prolonged contact with the infested person) should receive treatment for scabies. If your healthcare provider has instructed family members to be treated, everyone should receive treatment at the same time to prevent another infestation.