Source:  Scabies    Tag:  scabies what does it look like

I promised myself that I will write this piece to help more people when I recovered. This is a long  piece about my fight with a small little mite called the scabies that lasted 4 months due to my ignorance. I told myself when I am fully recovered, I want to write about this in greater detail to help people who may have the same issue and help them take a short cut and recover within a week!:)

If you are not really interested, I suggest you skip it. If you are here because you suspect you have scabies or have been fighting it, pls read on and I certainly hope this post is helpful to you and will turn your life around!

Anyway, I am very happy to announce that I finally can get started on this piece because my doctor has declared that I am FULLY RECOVERED! ;)


Some time back, I started noticing that there were some small little bubbles and rashes between the web of my fingers. I did not know what it was, only that it was really itchy and it seemed as if if I broke the bubbles, the liquid that seemed to flow out seem to infect more of my skin. The bubbles were in a line.. like a trail... and there was like a line in the skin as well.

I went online to search. Seemed like eczema. So I just tried to apply some meds (steroid cream I think) husband suggested I use.

They got better.

But they came back again.  Scabies are like that, they dont get better and stay better with the use of steroid creams. They get better and come back again.

Then,  the rashes go worse and worse. They spread and spread and spread... from my fingers, now,  there are itchy rashes in the pits of my arms, around my chest area, on my tummy, on my thighs... They got itchier and itchier and were especially itchy at night. I did not know what caused them.

I went to see a doctor and was told it was an allergic reaction. I was given some antihistamine and some cream to apply but they were of little use. It was less itchy.. somewhat but more rashes appear everyday.

My grandma became very very sick and I had no mood to see doctor. I discovered though that if I applied essential oil on it, I could contain the itchiness. So I just bear with it all through the last stage of her illness and through her funeral.

But it was horrible. Imagine yourself being itchy in places you never knew existed and sometimes feeling like little things crawling all over your chest but never seeing anything. I never knew that feeling itchy can make one feel like they will rather die.

One day during the funeral, a friend who came said her sister's children had the same issue and they found out eventually that it was this thing called SCABIES. She suggested that I find out more or see a doctor...

What Is Scabies
So I went home, went online and tried to find out what is scabies.

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Apparently, based on what I read online, SCABIES is a type of mite. You could think of it as a very very very small insect. Basically, this mite lives as a parasite on the human body and will lay eggs and reproduce itself.

What You Will See On Your Skin When You Have Scabies
Based on what I know now about scabies, it is a living organism that poops as well... the poop and crawling around and laying of eggs causes a reaction on our skin and it will create a few things on the skin:
  1. Burrows: Darker than skin color (some say silver) lines that looks like hidden track under the skin where they burrow. These can usually be seen under one's armpits, under the bust and in between web of fingers.
  2. Little bubbles with liquid inside. Unlike eczema or other skin issues, if you look closely, u will notice that the bubbles have a white dot in the middle that sometimes turns red or brown later inside. Bubbles are itchy and most itchy at night.
  3. Raised bumps...not unlike mosquito bites.. they are usually very red and very itchy because of the inflammation inside. Most of these bumps are most likely to appear on one's back, near the groin, between the folds of your bum bum.. These are also itchy most of the time and most itchy at night.

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  4. A feeling of something crawling around under the skin that doesnt go away no matter what you do.

So if you have most or all of the above and itch especially at night, it is quite likely that you have scabies.

I was like EUREKA! I finally could give a name to this THING that is bugging me and I thought that since I can name it, I can cure it!

Scabies Are Often Misdiagnosed As Something Else
But as I was still bz with the funeral, I let it be. Finally when everything was over, I went to see a doctor.

The doctor told me that my case does not look like scabies when I mentioned scabies. He insisted that they are said he doesn't know what caused the allergies.

He did say something very comforting to me. He says if it is scabies, they are the easiest to treat. You just need to apply medication for a few days and wash everything and sun everything and you will be ok. Just in case though, he gave me some scabies cream to apply...

Anyway, most doctors do not recognize scabies as the inital stage can look like skin allergies and all sorts of other hings. So it is often misdiagnosed as something else. If you have those things i mentioned in the previous para.. tell your doctor and ask to be prescribed with scabies treatment!

Scabies- The Mental Torture
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I think when it comes to scabies, the itchy feeling is a torture. It almost seems as if the more you scratch, the itchier it is. So it is best to try NOT to scratch.

But even the itchiness is the smallest thing. That in itself is something that can be resolved easily if you just apply medication or even do what I did.. apply either tea tree or lavender essential oil.

However, the crawly feeling is something that one can do nothing about. Scabies is mostly a mental torture because it is like this thing you feel you have no control over. And you cannot see it and you dunno if your fight with it is win , lose or draw.

And it is worse because paronia will make you want to wash everything and clean everything twice, thrice or all the time if you can! So there is alot of hard work involved. Some really paranoid people actually bag everything up and apply chemicals such as bleach on themselves! I am not sure bleach is a good idea though.

It is also a mental torture cos it make you worry about spreading this to others and causing others to have the same torture. So you tend to not want to get close to people for fear that you will spread it to them. You are constantly under duress. For me, it was sheer torture not to be able to hold my husband's hands or hug my son. I had to tell and remind myself to fuck it.. IT being the barrier or paranoia I built in my mind and hug them sometimes.. not for long... just so I can stay sane.

As it is something really terrible to me.. it is really difficult to share. Most people internalize their pain. So there is really I think no one else you can talk to. Worst still, no one can understand how you feel. They do not understand that even after you finish treatment, u will feel prickly sensations, still itch sometimes and act paranoid over every small feeling you have that feels like insect crawling or itchiness. They do not understand that when you go out, it takes every ounce of energy not to focus on the pain caused by the sweat oozing out from our arm pits. They will also not understand how when you are outside, it takes every inch of your willpower not to scratch at the intimate places that are itchy like crazy. They also will not understand why you are a grumpy old witch all the time.. haha;) I will never imagine how a super small mite like this can make me sooooooooo depressed!

But,  once you accept that and think positive of how all these are but part of your healing process, you can look at the world differently and take one step forward to full recovery at a time!:)

Treatment of Scabies Starts With Understanding Them WELL
To be honest, the first round of scabies treatment just made it less itchy but did not cure me completely. After a round of treatment, going to a skin specialist and doing another few rounds of treatment using natural ways and also medication helped me learn some lessons. During this period, I read extensively about scabies and found out there are many people who seemed tortured by it for YEARS! And they go online and share lots of negative things about scabies which IMHO are not really useful information. They just promote fear.

I am going to share what I learnt here so that my experience can hopefully help you. Before we talk about how to treat, I think it is important to know some basic facts about scabies.

First thing is that you need to understand that scabies mites have NO wings. THey cannot jump or fly. They can only walk and they can walk about one inch every minute. However, normal scabies infected person is likely to be ONLY infected with no more than 15 mites.

The chance of infecting through hugging is only there if there is prolonged hugging of longer than 15-20 min. Shaking hands dun spread scabies. Actually, some websites also say tat spreading scabies through your towels or bed sheets is actually very small. But just to be safe, you are usually asked to treat the entire family so that no one will reinfect anyone:) But, scabies seem to spread easily when you have sex since there is intimate contact for prolonged period.

Scabies only LIVE if your body hosts them. They are parasites. On their own, they usually die off after 72 hours. So anything that has not touched you for 72 hours should be safe:) I removed my blanket and bagged them for a week because it was just too much hassle to iron them.

Scabies do not heal by themselves. You need to apply scabies cream to kill them. And you need to reapply again to kill the eggs that hatch later. Or you can apply natural things like tea tree oil or castor oil. They can also be killed with heat of more than 50 degrees celsius.. But you can apparently chase them away with good immunity:)

Scabies live under your skin and are 0.03mm small so we usually cannot see them. The really only way to accurately diagnose them is to do a scrap test. Dr will apply oil and scrap skin with back of knife and put the scrapped off skin under microscope... it is painless.

A first time person who is infected with scabies can be infected for up to 4 weeks before they start to feel itchy and see symptoms of scabies. However, if you are reinfected, because of your highly sensitized state, you can usually feel it within a few days!

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BUT the good news is that a healthy immune system, a good attitude, happy mindset and healthy, low sugar diet are helpful to keeping them away. It is said if you have very strong immune system, they may not even want to stay in your body!:)

Treatment Of Scabies- Applying Scabies Cream
There are three main types of treatment. There is a type of cream called Permethrin you can apply, another type called Benzyl Benzoate and another type of pill you can take to kill the scabies mites. Unfortunately, all of them have to be prescribed by a doctor and cannot be bought over the counter.

I can only talk about the first two as I have only tried them. I actually find both Permethrin and the BB equally effective. To  apply these creams are that you need to bath first. And if you can, bath with cold water. If you bath with hot water, you will need to wait for your body to cool down before applying the cream.

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As scabies do not usually infiltrate beyond your neck, you are usually advised to apply neck onwards.. downwards... The most most most important thing about applying scabies cream is that you are to apply on EVERY INCH of your body. That means under your pits, under your bust, at the bottom of your feet, between your fingers/toes, inside your finger nails, between the cheeks of your butt, and even at the intimate areas. If you cannot reach it, find a way or get help! If you need to touch water and may have washed it off whichever part of your body, it is vital to reapply it ASAP in that area. This is because scabies mites can actually hide at areas that do not have medication and get away scot free! If you do it CORRECTLY, you have very high chance of recovering after 2 treatments!

So that you can cover all areas, it might be a good idea to remove all jewellery during treatment so there are no spots under your ring or bracelets and necklaces that you might miss.

Now I will like to talk a little about the difference between Permethrin and BB. I actually prefer Permethrin because of a few simple reasons. Firstly, you only need to apply it for 8-14 hrs and wash it off. So you can just apply before going to bed and wash off the next day when you bath.  Plus the smell is less unpleasant as compared to BB.

For BB, you need to apply it and leave it on for 12 hours.. and at the 12 hour mark, REAPPLY WITHOUT BATHING. Only after 24 hours of applying can you wash it off. I sometimes reapply as and when I feel itchy as it has anti itch properties.

Depending on how long you have already been infected with scabies, your doctor will actually advise you to apply the first treatment for 1-3 days. As I held off treatment for long time and my scabs were quite bad, I was asked to apply BB for 3 days by one dr and Pemethrin for two days by another doctor.

Do note that when you apply both meds, you may feel a burning or prickly sensation in some areas of your skin. It doesn't mean the scabies are there.. Haha.. it just means that the chemical balance there in your skin is a little different. But as you apply the creams again, the stingy sensation should lessen. First few times I applied the BB, my armpits stung for half an hour. Once the meds settle, it does usually feel a little more comfortable.

It is important to make sure you do not sweat when applying the meds. For this reason, I usually stay at home and try not to go out lest u sweat. Sweating may bring the stingy sensation back and may "wash off" the meds.

Because sweating is a torture to me, I also do not wear anything restrictive and do not wear clothes with materials that do not allow the skin to breathe. I find my skin at its super sensitive peak can only take cotton material. Best that your clothes and pants are loose fitting too.

During this period, so tat I do not suffer from more itch, I take antihistamine pills to relieve myself from the itch. THey do help a little but they make me sleepy. For me, I rather be sleepy than itchy. However, I recommend that one stops after a week or so.. because it is important for you to know if you are not itching because of the antihistamine or because you have gotten better.

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You may also try natural methods. THere are many online suggestions but I have only tried tea tree oil and castor oil. I will say that I feel safer using the natural oils vs chemicals which I know are poisons for my skin. But tea tree essential oil is alot more expensive. But while these natural methods will calm the itch, I find that they are less effective as compared to medication. That is because even after I use the oils, I still feel the crawling sensation in my chest area. Only the medications stopped this sensation and I feel they really kill the mites. So I think this might indicate that medications are more effective despite what most internet forums may say... For me, I rather poison myself and get better faster and detox after that:) Plus, tea tree oil is also irritating to some people's skin.(But I will like to thank my friend, Jez, for her sponsorship of my two bottles of tea tree oil and Renew Moisturizer that contains tea tree oil. They are life savers for me when I am out and itchy! I just apply them and it can soothe the itch for some time.)

Note: If someone is living in close quarters and sits beside or sleeps beside you, get them to apply BB or Pemethrin once as treatment just in case to prevent you infecting them and them reinfecting you. Some badly infected people who work in close quarters with their colleagues actually need to get them to apply cream as well.

Treatment Of Scabies- The Great Clean Up AFTER Applying Scabies Cream
After you apply your scabies cream, you need to change everything! Change your towel, change your bedsheets. Change underwear everytime after you bath. Vacumn your bed, vacum areas in the house you frequent too. I know it can be daunting to do that and not sweat. But with some planning, it can be done!:) I usually plan to clean everything one shot just before I am due to take my bath to watch off the creams.

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Wash everything in more than 50 degrees celsius. It will kill the scabs. SUn it if you can. If you cannot, iron them! One of the most common places they hide in is your underwear! So do sun or IRON your underwear. If you have expensive underwear, just put them between a towel and iron on the towel... and steam steam steam!

Just to be safe, I vacumn the area i sit in at home most often and my bed everyday for a week. I ironed my underwear. I ironed ALL clothes before I wear them too.

Pay attention to the shoes you wear and bags you use. After wearing a shoe or using a bag, sun it or bag it up for three days and do not wear it again till after the 3 days so that you do not reinfect yourself. If wearing socks, change the everyday!

If you applied the cream well and do not CLEAN UP, there is a chance of reinfection. So do BOTH STEPS WELL!:) It is a little extra work but it is well worth the effort!:)

Treatment Of Scabies- Nourish Your Skin, Nourish Your MInd, Nourish Your Body!
After your first round of treatment of applying cream, you should ALWAYS nourish your skin afterwards.

This is because both creams are actually very drying for the skin. Also, post scabies, your skin will still tend to itch every now and then, have a bump or two every now and then too. It can take up to 6 months or even a year for the sensitive feeling to go away completely but most pple are good after about 1-2 months.

Moisturizing the skin also makes the scabs less likely to wanna lay eggs according to some sources.

Whether or not tat is true,  I just feel it is good to nourish it with a good moisturizer and apply some cream for any itch you may feel just to feel more comfortable. Your doctor will usually provide the cream which is for reducing itch and reducing inflammation. You may even still feel like things are crawling across your skin. FRET NOT. THis is normal and to be fair, some of it is a result of your skin becoming more reactive and sensitive and you becoming more psychologically sensitive to any sensation you might feel. Some people may see their eczema or allergies act up post scabs.
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Usually first 3 days after your FIRST application of BB or P, you should not see more bumps, rash or feel as much itch.

Now, a good positive mindset is very important in this fight against something you cannot see. If you have a religion. PRAY for good health and better immunity.  The scabies mites do not like healthy bodies so feed your body well with nourishing foods. DO not take so much sugar and exercise lightly. It is said a healthy immune system is actually the best treatment to scabies and I agree! Once you can tolerate sweating, going out in the sun to sun yourself a little s a good idea. Manifest for a healthier you!:) Eat well and rest early. Drink lots of water!

In my attempt to approach this on a holistic level and use it as a way to understand myself better, I have found that scabies on a psychological level are merely a manifestation of some negative thoughts you have about yourself and a lack of self love. It is a good idea to think about things you have done wrong and forgive yourself for all those things and also, it is a good idea to send alot of love to yourself. If you do not know how to do that, just imagine you putting all the "bad things" you believe about yourself into a bag and then give it to the heavens and let your angels/gods/buddhas etc help you. Ask for help and ask for a miracle!

You will go online forum and see that MANY pple have struggled with scabies for MONTHS or YEARS. Remember, they are NOT YOU. It is very likely they did not apply the cream correctly or clean up correctly and it could be their paronia that made them keep applying crazy things to their skin. When you apply alot of chemicals to your skin, it is natural that it keeps flaring up. And I guess that is why it may seem to them like it is a non stop fight for them. Or, it may not be scabies anymore but something else too and so they are treating it wrong.

BUT YOU CAN DO IT DIFFERENTLY. You can do it right the first time and put an end to all these after 2 treatments! (that is why I am writing this long, detailed post to help you cos i think i would have saved more grief if pple shared tips that helped me do it right  instead of fear mongering!)

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My doctor said scabies is easy, just apply medication correctly, clean up correctly and you will be cured and IT IS TRUE!

Treatment Of Scabies- When Do You Treat Again?
Because scabies creams only kill the mites and not the eggs, you will usually be asked by your doctor to treat yourself one week after your first application to kill the eggs that may have hatched afterwards.

In my experience though, after 3 days, some eggs will already start to hatch so it is a good idea to add in one more treatment during Day 4 and do another one on Day 8.

Or if you are using BB, use it for 3 days and do another treatment on Day 7 works too.

Post scabies, it is normal to itch again, have bumps or bubbles etc. You determine if it is scabies that reinfected you by observing a few things:
- do you itch more at night
 - do you keep having more bumps after applying your steroid creams and moisturizer
- are all the raised bumps itchy and are they in your groin area and in the armpits etc?

If you answered yes to the above three questions, it is likely a reinfestation. You just restart your treatment from DAY 1 again. If they are random, then likely it is either in your mind or just post scabs recovery itch:)

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If you last more than a week after your last scabies treatment with no new issues, I will now present you with  a cert.... cos CONGRATULATIONS, you are now certified as having GRADUATED from scabies!

Paranoia might return. I still feel things crawling over my legs every now and then. My bumps are still itchy sometimes. I feel my body itching here and there every now and then...  My doctor says most of it is psychological... which i agree as I feel these most often when I am not relaxed and comfy at home... The psychological damage I think is the part that we also need to be mindful about and so it is important to keep cheering myself along I feel.

Despite all these,  I know I have graduated and I certainly hope you will graduate too!:)


If you have benefitted from this.. do pay it forward and SHARE with your friends!:)

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