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Scabies

Syyhy, sen oireet ja hoito-ohjeet.

17.11.2023

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Black dots under the skin, combined with intense itching, may be a sign of scabies. Scabies, which has become very common in recent years and even causes shame, is an unpleasant but treatable problem. This article will introduce you to scabies, the scabies mite and the treatment of its symptoms using CBD oil.

What is scabies?

Scabies is caused by the scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis), which is a small black mite belonging to the family of arachnids. They live in the stratum corneum of the skin in humans, and at least in dogs and cats. The female scabies mite can live up to 2 months, during which time she lays her eggs in the tunnels she digs just under the skin. The symptoms of scabies are caused by secretions secreted by ticks, against which the body develops a counter-reaction. (1,2)

Scabies is a common problem today and it occurs in people of all ages. Its occurrence has increased significantly in recent years in Finland and throughout Europe. The reason for its prevalence is not yet known.

Is scabies always contagious and where does it come from?

The scabies mite is contagious in close skin contact, but requires contact longer than a handshake. It spreads easily and is most likely to be contracted in care work, the military and daycare. In addition to skin contact, the scabies mite is also transmitted by sheets and clothes that have been in contact with infected skin. (1,2)

The scabies mite is not transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa.

Scabies symptoms

Symptoms begin approx. 3-6 weeks after infection. We often talk about the bite of a mange mite, but in reality the symptoms are caused by the body’s sensitization to ticks and the secretions they secrete, which results in the body’s counter-reaction.

The symptoms are severe itching that worsens in the evening, redness of the skin, pustules and small red pimples even over the entire body. Itching is usually strongest on the hands, (between the fingers and palms), face, legs, lower abdomen, and in children often also on the soles of the feet. As a result of scratching, the skin may become inflamed and form pustules. Prolonged scabies often increase stress and cause shame. (1,2)

Illustrative picture of scabies mite on human skin.

The scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis) is a small 0.3–0.5 mm mite that belongs to arachnids.

 

Diagnosis of the cause

Determining the cause of scabies can sometimes be difficult, as the number of ticks can be very small despite the intense itching. Inflammation and blistering of the skin caused by scratching the skin may make it difficult to diagnose, because it is difficult to detect ticks under reddened and broken skin. For the diagnosis, the doctor tries to find a tick under the skin, which, combined with other symptoms, confirms the infection as scabies. (2)

Scabies treatment

Good hygiene is important in the treatment of scabies. Sheets and clothes should be changed daily and washed at a temperature of at least 50-60 degrees Celsius to kill the eggs and ticks. A tick lives outside of a person for only a few days, so textiles sealed in a tightly tied plastic bag for a week should also be safe without washing. For this reason, neurotic cleaning is not beneficial, but changing sheets and textiles and washing the skin daily are sufficient. Skin contact with other people should be avoided during treatment. (2)

Scabies treatment can take time and requires nerves and patience. Good hygiene alone is not enough to evict ticks, so medicated creams and natural tea tree and neem oils are also used in the treatment.

Drug treatment for scabies

The cream used in the treatment of scabies (e.g. Nix emulsion cream) contains permethrin and you can get it from a pharmacy without a prescription. It is recommended that everyone in the immediate circle is treated at the same time and the treatment is renewed 7-10 days after the first treatment (1). According to experience, medicated creams can be expensive and due to ineffectiveness, the removal of ticks may be a long way behind.

Another medicinal treatment is an internally taken medicine containing imervectin in tablet form, which can only be obtained with respet. If the infection is prolonged or bad, the doctor may prescribe both oral and external medicine. (1,2)

The drug resistance of the scabies mite has been recognized and has also been studied. It is unclear whether the reason behind the treatment failures is the tick’s resistance to the drugs alone or also the poor implementation of the treatment. (3)

Red pimples may Itch even after a month of treatment, but if the itching is clearly only in the pimples that are healing, there is not necessarily a need for a new doctor’s consultation.

Neem and tea tree oils

Neem tree ( Azadirachta indica) the oil obtained from the fruit is known especially for combating plant pests, but the high-quality oil can also be used in small quantities for skin care. Neem oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and deep cleansing properties. Neem oil has been found to soothe the skin, reduce redness and relieve itchiness. (4,5)

As early as 1992, promising results were obtained in studies where turmeric and neem oil were tested for the treatment of scabies. A paste made from neem oil and turmeric was used to treat scabies in 814 people, with 97% of cases getting better within 3 to 15 days of starting treatment. (6)

Tea tree oil is from the Australian tea tree ( Melaleuca alternifolia) oil pressed from leaves and branches, whose use in medicine and pest control has been known for thousands of years. Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antibacterial effects. It has been used for a wide range of skin challenges, from acne to insect bites, and has been found to be effective in treating symptoms caused by scabies on the skin. Tea tree oil can be used on the skin, but since it is also a very strong oil, it must always be diluted according to the instructions for use. (7)

Other essential oils may also have an effect on both the ticks themselves and the resulting symptoms on the skin. (5) All these oils, neem, tea tree and others, are very strong and must always be diluted before applying to the skin. Dilution can be done by mixing a few drops of the oil with another oil suitable for the skin, such as jojoba, coconut or hemp seed oil. The diluted oil is applied to the skin every time after washing and repeated until the symptoms begin to pass.

Neem and tea tree oil for treating scabies.

In a study, a paste made from neem oil and turmeric was used to treat scabies in 814 people, with 97% getting better within 3-15 days of starting the treatment.

 

Self-care instructions about internet cancer

On discussion boards and social media, you may sometimes come across the most unusual instructions regarding self-treatment of diseases. To eradicate the scabies mite, e.g. hand washing, sauna and bleach are supported, but it goes without saying that even if these are helpful, there are safer alternatives available.

In a sauna, ticks and their eggs are destroyed in two hours when the temperature is at least 80 degrees C, but they do not bite those living under the skin because the temperature does not rise high enough for a long enough time.

Endocannabinoids on the skin

The body is balanced by the endocannabinoid system. It is a system consisting of endogenous cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and their disintegrating molecules, whose main function is to monitor the body’s functions and, if necessary, steer them towards balance. This particular system is found in all humans and almost all animal species.

Unfortunately, the endocannabinoid system does not protect us from scabies, but it is involved in the reaction caused by the body, as well as the symptoms that occur on the skin.

The skin contains both receptors CB1 and CB2, as well as the best-known endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. Their operation is related to e.g. skin cell regeneration and growth, skin barrier formation and skin inflammation processes. (8)

CBD oil in the treatment of scabies

The cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) found in hemp does not necessarily kill scabies, but it may be useful for the skin symptoms and stress caused by them. CBD oil is a gentle and safe natural product that does not cause intoxication, addiction or unpleasant side effects. Cannabinoids are smart and by utilizing the body’s receptors, they work where help is needed and can treat both skin and stress at the same time.

CBD has a lot of good properties, of which, in terms of the treatment of scabies, they are useful, e.g. antibacterial, antiseptic and both inflammation and stress-relieving effects. CBD may soothe irritated skin, inflammation-induced redness, blisters and itching. (8)

Summary

Scabies is an embarrassing problem, the treatment of which can be a long and difficult road at worst. Sometimes it may take several creams before the infection is completely gone. However, scabies can often disappear with natural methods as well, if you commit to its treatment strongly enough. Good hygiene and reasonable cleaning are a good basis for eliminating scabies mites, but more robust methods are also needed. According to studies, scabies can be treated naturally with neem and tea tree oils. In addition, CBD oil can be an effective skin symptom reliever and healer.

Sources

 

  1. Airola K.. 2022. Health library duodecim. Scabies. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00507. Referred on 28/10/2023.
  2. Tays. Patient instructions. Scabies. https://www.tays.fi/fi-FI/Ohjeet/Potilasohjeet/Ihotaudit/Syyhy(11146). Referred on 28/10/2023
  3. Kankaanpää J.. 2023. Helsinki Faculty of Medicine. Medical treatise. Drug resistance of the scabies mite – a real threat to treatment success?. https://helda.helsinki.fi/server/api/core/bitstreams/b5a75e95-5fbe-4516-81cd-575d359599d6/content. Referred on 28/10/2023
  4. Putriana N. and Husni P.. 2018. Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology. Effectiveness test of neem oil cream ( Azadirachta indica A. Juss) as antiscabies in New Zealand Rabbits. https://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/ispst2018/jpsr112018con21.pdf. Referred on 28/10/2023
  5. Nardoni S. and Manciati F.. 2022. Essential Oils against Sarcoptes scabiei. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9788335/. Referred on 28/10/2023
  6. Charles V. & Charles SX 1992. Tropical and geographical medicine . The use and efficacy of Azadirachta indica ADR (‘Neem’) and Curcuma Longa (‘Turmeric’) in scabies. A pilot study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1496714/ . Referenced 11/14/2023.
  7. Thoma J, Carson C, Peterson G, et al. 2016. Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751955/. Referred on 28/10/2023.
  8. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. 2020. Baswan S., Klosner A., ​​Glynn K., Rajgopal A., Malik K., Yim S., Stern N.. 2020. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736837/. Referred on 28/10/2023

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