Home remedies for scabies have not proven to be very effective in the past. Various lotions, oils, herbs and vitamins have been suggested, but lack scientific proof as effective natural scabies treatments. In fact, some of the recommended scabies home remedies may make scabies symptoms worse. The only scabies home remedy available without a prescription that has scientific research supporting its effectiveness is Australian Tea Tree Oil.

Is Tea Tree Oil an Effective Natural Scabies Treatment?

Tea tree oil is the essential oil of the Australian tea tree. It is used in traditional Aboriginal medicine specifically for bruises, skin infections and insect bites. Scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil is able to heal bacterial, viral and yeast-type skin infections. Up to recently, there have been no studies determining the effectiveness of tea tree oil for a parasitic skin infection such as scabies.

In a recent Australian study, a young women with crusted scabies (Norwegian Scabies), was treated with tea tree oil and other prescribed medicines to determine its relative effectiveness. The study found that tea tree oil was effective in shortening mite survival times. With a 5% concentration of tea tree oil, the scabies mites were dead within three hours, whereas the prescribed medicines took up to three times as long. Tea tree oil may prove to be a valuable scabies natural treatment as resistance to prescribed scabies drugs increases.

Scabies Self Care at Home

Once scabies are diagnosed and the appropriate treatment prescribed, the following guidelines can be used to support the medical treatment at home:

  • Consider treating all family members who had contact with the infested person, even if there is no sign of scabies because symptoms may take up to four weeks to appear. Discuss this with your medical practitioner.
  • While the skin is still itchy – avoid scratching and keep open sores clean, especially in children.
  • Use the medicine exactly as the doctor prescribed. Do not use it more often than recommended because it can cause a chemical irritation of the skin.
  •  Cut the fingernails of all family members and clean under it properly to remove all mites or eggs that might have remained.

Non-Prescription Medicine for Scabies

All non-prescription medicine for scabies will only treat the symptoms of scabies, but will not kill the mites and their eggs. The following over the counter medicines may be useful in providing relief for the itching associated with scabies:

  • Antihistamine creams can be applied directly onto the affected areas.
  • Oral antihistamine (such as Benadryl) can provide relief from the allergic reaction to the activities of the scabies mites. It will not interfere with the diagnosis of scabies. It is not recommended to give oral antihistamine to children without consulting with a doctor. Oral antihistamines with a sedative effect may help with sleep problems due to itching.
  • Be careful of using corticosteroid creams without a doctor’s prescriptions as these creams may make the scabies sores look different and make it harder for the doctor to diagnose scabies correctly.

How Can I Treat My Home After Scabies Infestation?

While scabies is treated medically, it is important to take specific steps to prevent re-infesting the home and family members.

The following can be done to rid the home from surviving scabies mites:

  • Wash all clothing, towels, bed linens that have been used in the last three days.
  • Use to hot washing cycle and do not air dry the clothes, towels and linen, but place it in the dryer on the hot setting.
  • Extra cleaning efforts such as washing walls, furniture or a daily change of bedding are not necessary except if the person has Norwegian (crusted) scabies.
  • Place non-washable objects such as soft toys, pillows and coats in seal plastic bags for at least seven days.
  • Vacuum carpets, furniture, bedding, car interior and child car seats thoroughly. Discard the vacuum cleaner bag when finished.

The effects of scabies can be lessened and shortened by applying home treatment techniques and appropriate self care at home. Tea tree oil as a scabies home remedy or prescription drugs to cure scabies are effective ways to stop the disease.

Laurie Barclay, MD – Tea Tree Oil May Be Used to Treat Scabies – Arch Dermatol. 2004;140:563-566
Mary Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP, Scabies – http://www.emedicinehealth.com/scabies/page6_em.htm#Self-Care%20at%20Home
WebMD, Scabies – Home Treatment