Post scabies syndrome, sometimes referred to as nodular scabies, is a condition that occurs in many people that have been infected with scabies and received treatment for the condition. We are frequently asked about post scabies treatment because the condition is very uncomfortable and people often worry that they’ve actually contracted scabies a second time. We’ll explain what’s really going on and tell you how to treat it.
After you’ve received treatment to kill the scabies mites, the dead mites remain under your skin. It takes up to six weeks for your body to eliminate or absorb the dead mites. During that time, you can continue to experience an allergic reaction to the mites, even though they are no longer alive. That means you can continue to experience intense itching.
In many cases, the body encases the dead mites in thickened skin, perhaps in an attempt to reduce the allergic reaction. This can result in the development of tiny, hard red bumps, which look similar to the bumps caused by an active scabies infection. The small, hard nodules that develop are why the condition is sometimes referred to as nodular scabies.
While these symptoms can be quite comfortable, they aren’t contagious at this point. Scabies is only contagious when the mites are alive.
People often mistake post scabies symptoms for a re-infection of scabies. The symptoms are very similar, so it can be hard to tell the difference. However, if you’ve been re-infected, you can usually see very fine red lines (see picture below) among the tiny red bumps, which are the burrows where the mites are traveling beneath the skin. If you don’t see those, there are probably no living mites there.
If you think you may have been re-infected, though, or if you’re not sure, see your doctor for a diagnosis. It’s important to get effective treatment for scabies because not only is the condition terribly uncomfortable, it’s highly contagious and you don’t want to spread it to others.
Treatment for post scabies syndrome is aimed at relieving uncomfortable symptoms, such as intense itching. There’s no way to shorten the duration of the post scabies allergic reaction, but there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable during that time.
You can treat post scabies itching the same way you treated itching during the active scabies infection. Cool baths, possibly with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal added to the water, can reduce the intense itching. Since the itching often seems worse at night, a cool bath before bed can help. You can also apply an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, like Calamine lotion, or a natural product, such as Naturasil topical scabies cream, to soothe irritated skin and relieve itching.
Don’t use prescription medications for scabies, such as permethrin cream or lindane lotion, to treat post scabies symptoms. Those medications contain pesticides meant to kill scabies mites and you don’t need pesticides after the mites are already dead. They can also increase skin irritation and itching is a common side effect of these medications. In short, they won’t help and may end up making you feel worse.
Some natural treatments for scabies can also be used to treat post scabies symptoms, however. For instance, Naturasil scabies liquid kills scabies mites but it also contains ingredients like tea tree oil, which soothes irritated skin, and lemongrass oil, which reduces inflammation. It can be used to treat post scabies symptoms as well as to treat an active scabies infection.
We like Naturasil topical scabies cream for relieving itching both during an active scabies infection and afterward. Made from all natural plant extracts, it relieves the itching and soothes irritated skin. To learn more about our preferred treatment for post scabies syndrome, just follow the link.