How do you get Scabies?

No doubt from the minute you found out you had the mites you were wondering where they hell did these things from!!!! %$^&@#

No doubt you’ve racked your brain trying to figure out just who – or where – gave you the gift of these little demons.

Apart from allowing us to vent our frustration to the person or place who gave us this affliction, it’s actually a really good thing to know, so you can avoid getting reinfected once you’ve cured yourself.

So where Scabies are most often found?

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

13 places you’re most likely to pick up scabies

You have the highest likelihood of picking up the mites in highly populated places and places that aren’t cleaned frequently. Mites will sit for days waiting for a new carrier if the area they were left on stays hospitable for them.

Crowded spaces is pretty broad, so let’s look at specific establishments.

Location #1) The gym

I’m pretty sure this is where I picked them up.. damn local YMCA.

In the gym you encounter LOTS of shared surfaces: weights, machines, mats, showers, saunas. It’s huge risk area for mites.

Also many people use the provided towels, which are not always cleaned thoroughly under hot enough temperatures.


  • Avoid going to the gym if you pick up or ever hear of anyone else picking up the mites. You don’t want to spread them and you don’t want them spread to you.
  • Bring your own towels. bring enough towels so that you can dry off and use them to sit on if you choose to use the sauna or sit down on a bench.

Location #2) School

Again, lots of people and lots of shared surfaces. Also, kids aren’t known for being overly clean. 


  • If you have children or are a student yourself be very aware of any health updates your school is putting out. When cases of scabies break out the administrations in most schools will take some preventative measures and warn their students.
  • Be pretty clean yourself. Carry around sanitizer and use your own towels if you are in the gym often. There’s not much else you can do other than this.

Location #3) Your work place

If you’re work environment has a lot of people then it is a likely target for the spread of mites. Be mindful of a potential spreading of the mites across your office and request that your coworkers get treated if the mites show up.

Location #4) communal housing

When people live together pretty much everything is shared virus wise. 

When you share the same couches, same bathrooms, same kitchen and same everything else pretty much all of your colds and anything else transmittable will spread.


  • At the very first sign of infestation get everyone treated in your living space. If you hesitate to treat everyone then there is a high chance that your time with the mites will be prolonged. 

Location #5) Motels, hotels and hostels

I read a lot of stories from families who picked up scabies while traveling. It seems to be very common, especially in hostels. 


  • Read reviews of the places you stay at. Often times a yelp review can save you from staying in a place notorious for having scabies. If a facility isn’t kept clean then it is unlikely to be approved unless it changes management.

Location #6) Nurseries and daycare

Again, bugs get spread very easily among children. With all of the hands on play and sharing of clothes a whole group can become infected before symptoms are even seen.

Location #7) Traveling hubs

Travel hubs like airports and train stations bring a lot of people together. They all pile into small forms of transportation. This is another easy place to spread mites.

Bunk beds anyone?

Location #8) Picking up hitchhikers

I’m not profiling here. I actually really like hitchhiking. BUT, for those living an on the road lifestyle it is often hard to get treatment so they tend to have the bugs longer.

Moving around like this they also have a higher likelihood of picking up mites in the first place.

Location #9) Hospitals

For seeming such a sterile environment hospitals can actually be one of the easiest ways to contract scabies. With overworked staff often unable to handle upkeep for each patient to have a clean visit.

Also for such conventionally clean establishments, hospitals can host their fare share of bugs.

Location #10) Retirement home

People enter retirement homes right around the time they’re ability for self care declines. For this reasons mites can easily spread amongst the elderly in a communal living arrangement. Poor folks.

Location #11) thrift stores

Sifting through a thrift store clothing rack is quite obviously going to expose you to a lot of potential pathogens and bugs. 

I know I view thrift stores in a much different light after having scabies! Who knows what’s lurking on those racks.


  • If you’re buying clothes from a thrift store consider bringing them home and washing them BEFORE you try them on. I know it’s an inconvenience, but so is scabies.

Location #12) Sports team locker rooms

You remember that time the whole high school wrestling team got jock itch? Well it could have just as easily been scabies. 

Location #13) Homeless Shelters

Homeless people are far less likely than others to find the resources to cure themselves of scabies. So sadly, it spreads amongst them quickly. Lots of volunteers at these shelters have picked up scabies on the job. Bad cases of crusted scabies can be found here.


If you have or have had scabies it is a really good idea to try to find out where they came from so you can stay away. Also do everything you can to inform others so they don’t have to go through what we did.

How about you? Do you know where you picked up scabies? Let us know in the comment section below.

100 Practical Tips for Scabies Treatment

100 practical tips for scabiesThere is a lot to know when it comes to treating scabies mites. 

Not only is there a lot to know, there is also a lot of questionable advice given online about treating the dreaded mites. Just browse the the Topix scabies forum for some examples of this.

There are a lot of people on those forums and online that bring misguided, highly emotional advice to the table.

While there is a good deal of helpful info available, there is also some BS you need to sift through. And if you are new to this whole thing its really hard to discern what is good or bad advice.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

I know it took me forever to get a good grasp on understanding scabies, but by the end of it I could seeclearly what works and what doesn’t.

So without further adieu, here are 100 tips for dealing with scabies.

Tip #1) Be sure you actually have scabies.

Check out the Google Image search for Scabies. It’s not pretty, but really take a look and discern whether those physical signs match up with yours. There are other potential problems you are having such as eczema, ring worm, bird mites, Morgellons, impedigo, drug reactions, contact dermatitis… etc. 

Tip #2) It is easy to spread Scabies from person to person.

Some doctors will tell you that Scabies can only be contracted from close and continuous physical contact. This is definitely not true.

Every time an infested person touches something, anything, there is a chance they are leaving behind mites that someone else could pick up.

A glass, a remote, clothes, a computer, a cell phone, a water bottle, a door knob… the list goes on. You can get infested that easy. Just touch one of those things and you could be picking up scabies.

Tip #3) Most folk cures/remedies will not completely cure scabies.

Take a look below at this photo from the scabies photos page:


scabies burrow under skin picture

As you can see, Scabies like to travel underneath the skin, sometimes well below the surface layers. This is also where they lay their eggs. 

This means that folk remedies lack enough power to kill all the mites. Even if they are powerful enough to kill many mites it is highly unlikely that they will reach the very well protected eggs. Plus you’ll probably still have some live mites remaining that will have been damaged, but are still free to move to other areas of the body.

Some natural treatments that are not likely to cure you are:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Naturasil soaps
  • Neem oil
  • oregano oil
  • cayenne
  • bleach
  • Clove oil
  • Sulphur. While sulphur can kill off large swaths of your infestation I would NEVER rely exclusively on it for treatment. You really need to use ivermectin and permethrin.

Tip #4) You can have Scabies but not be very itchy.

This happened to me.

When I first got infested it was hell. I started getting really itchy between my thighs and eventually it spread to my entire body. You know the drill.

After awhile though (about 6 months worth of failed treatments) the visual signs of scabies, as well as the typical high rate of itchiness subsided I thought that maybe one of treatments finally worked (I was using more natural remedy approaches like sulpher and neem).

But alas, I was wrong. Over the next couple months I unknowingly continued to carry around mites which led to a couple of my good friends getting infected themselves. This was really devastating to me.

Some people are completely a-symptomatic. They carry the mites but never have symptoms. Very unfortunate. So always be on your toes.

Tip #5)  Being minimalistic while you have scabies helps a lot. The less things you have around you the easier it is to contain an infestation.

This is a very basic and straightforward tip that many people ignore.

The more things you touch, the more things you have to disinfect if you want to keep your environment Scabies free. 

While you are dealing with this thing try to keep all you’re possessions that aren’t completely necessary stored away. Bag them up or just put them in a place where you won’t have to worry about them.

This means less washing, less spraying/disinfecting and less to think about.

Tip #6) Ivermectin and Permethrin are the best treatments to use for scabies.

This is cut and dry. These medications do the job, everything else falls short.

If you don’t want to mess around with these mites then go straight to your doctor and get prescribed or go online and buy these treatments over the counter. I can tell you this after trying other methods of curing scabies and being disappointed each time. The closest I got to a natural cure was with sulphur, but it didn’t completely resolve the condition. You don’t want to go through what I went through. You can buy permethrin cream online here

Tip #7) Ivermectin and Permethrin are safer than some people would lead you to believe

When I first got into treating myself for scabies I fell into the logic that Ivermectin and Permethrin where unnecessary toxins and that there were natural ways to cure scabies that would work “over time”. 

Let me tell you, I would have saved a lot of grief if I had questioned this advice a bit more.

First of all, natural oils, homeopathy (i’m not knocking homeopathy in general, just for scabies), and immune system cures do not work. I can attest to this first hand. So that is kind of a deal breaker. Clove oil and Sulphur are something of an exception. They do a decent job of killing the mites, but again, you are unlikely to accomplish a complete cure solely with them.

As far as safety goes, after looking up a ton of peer reviewed articles by scientific investigators I am convinced that the toxicity of ivermectin and permethrin is very low for humans. Of course this is if you take only the recommended dosages. If you are doubtful I recommend doing some research for yourself. Also, I will eventually be compiling a post that breaks down many of the scientific articles I’ve read.

Tip #8) Use disinfectant sprays to keep all of your surfaces clean and mite free.

Like I said a in the first tip, scabies can spread easily and they can spread fast. You owe it to yourself, your family, your friends and the rest of the world to minimize the potential for spreading the mites.  

It can be easy to get the mites on surfaces for others to pick up.To stop the spread get a disinfectant spray and use it on all surfaces that you’ve touched. 

I recommend:

Permethrin Clothing Spray (spray it anywhere, not just on clothes.)

Natural Chemistry De Flea Spray

Spray Nine Multi-purpose disinfectant-cleaner

Tip #9) Avoid Scratching your itchy skin.

Scratching your skin will not give you much relief. In the moment it feels good, but it only makes the itch worse in the long run. It also increases the likelihood that you will spread mites across your body. I have more information on this topic in my posts 3 Reasons to Avoid Itching Yourself and How to Itch Your Skin But Not Spread Mites.

Tip #10) Cut your Nails Short, and keep them short.

This is the first thing to do when you know you have scabies. It is related to tip #8, because when you scratch there is a good chance you will spread mites to other parts of your body. When your nails are long they act as perfect transportation for the mites as they get stuck under your nails with your dead skin cells. I’ve written more about this on this post.

Tip #11) It is important to get treatment for your friends and family.

If you do everything right in your treatment and got rid of the mites, wouldn’t it just suck so badly to get them right back from another person you come in contact with? This happens a lot since the mites are so pervasive and easily spreadable. When treating yourself make sure that anyone who could have potentially caught your buggies has taken preventative measures.

Tip #12) Clean your animals.

In addition to your human friends, you could also pick up the friendly mites from your pets. It is a really good idea to treat your animals at the same time as your treatments. 

Tip #13) Deep clean your carpets.

Some surfaces can house mites easier than others. With a tile floor or counter, all that’s needed is a quick swipe with a disinfectant. It’s a different story with carpets and rugs, and heaven forbid if you have an old shag carpet.

A good idea is to rent or buy a steam cleaner. These will thoroughly disinfect your carpet and leave them clean as the first time you bought them. You’ll likely be able to rent a steam cleaner from a store near you, or you can buy one online. I was already thinking about a good carpet cleaner so I sprung for buying one. I definitely don’t regret it! This is the one I bought.

Tip #14) Utilize mattress covers

Speaking of surfaces that can become mite strongholds, let’s talk about mattresses.

While keeping your sheets clean is extremely important (wash them after each night in them), it is also good to be aware of the potential for mites being deposited inside your mattress itself. 

Bugs love mattresses because of all the tasty dead skin cells. A small population of scabies mites could easily live off of the dead skin deposited in your mattress for awhile.

Now before you toss your (potentially) infested mattress, consider getting a mattress cover. These plastic covers will keep the bugs out and are super easy to clean.

Tip #15) Be proactive about reducing itch.

The itch from scabies might be one of the most uncomfortable experiences you’ll have. It’s a really good idea to do what you can to lessen it and make it more manageable. It sucks to lose sleep over a terribly itchy night.

I have a post that discusses 10 ways to reduce the itching. Go check it out. 

Tip #16) Bag up most of your clothes to limit laundry usage.

One of the biggest time consumers for scabies is the amount of laundry we have to do. It sucks. Just bagging up the majority of our clothes to be reopened after we are cured makes life a lot easier during the time that we are curing ourselves.

Tip #17) Scabies can survive laundry cycles.

When you wash your clothes double check that your dryer is on the highest setting possible. You might even want to run your clothes twice in the dryer.

Tip #18) Take a mini vacation from home if your house is extremely infested.

If you’ve been having a ton of problems with getting re infested then I recommend taking your dose of Stromectol/Ivermectin/ and leaving your house behind for at least a week.

Tip #19) Drinking alcohol makes itching worse.

A lot of people online have said this and I can confirm it first hand. If you decide to drink take notice at the degree of your itching. If you itch more, then stop. If you can’t stop drinking, maybe that’s something you should look into.

Tip #20) If you don’t have a good washer/dryer be sure to at least use effective detergents.

Use 3 cups of ammonia in your laundry, 3/4 cup of borax, 1/2 cup of washing soda and regular detergent. That should ensure that you’re laundering will kill the mites.

Tip #21) Disposable gloves are extremely useful.

Buy a ton of them and use them often. Our hands are a very easy way to spread mites and a frequent change of disposable gloves can make a huge difference in our cure.

Tip #22) Saran wrap electronics.

You’re going to want to keep your surfaces clean, so you’ll need to be constantly disinfecting. This is challenging with electronics because you don’t want to ruin them. With saran wrap you can wrap your remotes, keyboards, computer mouse etc..

Tip #23) Use your freezer for small items.

Utilize your freezer to disinfect you’re shoes and small things overnight. I kept my rings and necklace in the freezer overnight.

Tip #24) Easy to clean indoor shoes

Flip flops or Crocs plastic or rubberized are easy to sanitize, spray with Lysol or soak in boiling water with bleach or borax, good to wear around the house. 

Tip #25) Easy access disinfectant wipes or sprays in each room.

I kept clorox wipes in most of my rooms for easy access. Also permethrin spray would be a good thing to have handy. Unless we have our cleaning items easily accessible it is just too easy to miss out on opportunities for the bugs to spread.

Tip #26) Take long sulphur soaks every few days.

In addition to your ivermectin and permethrin treatments it is probobaly a good idea to soak in a sulphur bath every few days. I did this near the end of my infestation

Tip #27) Don’t spend too much time reading forums on scabies.

Researching scabies is stressful. The whole situation sucks and if you dwell on it by doing too much reading on the topix forum you will stress yourself and itch more and more. Just make sure your treatment is done right, follow through on it every day, and let the rest run it’s course. Don’t overthink it.

Tip #28) Believe deeply that you will get better.

It’s so easily to think fatalistically when you have these mites. They limit your life, make you uncomfortable and cause you to fear spreading them. It’s miserable. Don’t add to your struggles by feeling stuck and that you’re far from being healed. See the light at the tunnel, because it’s there.

Tip #29) Eating sugar and wheat will make you more itchy

Scabies become far more active when sugar has been consumed in your diet. From what I understand it is because they feed off of it and become invigorated when it is in their system. Yeah gross. I’ve found that eating wheat, which in so many people causes the immune system to react, will make the itching way worse too. 

Tip #30) Never use towels twice and be sure no one else uses your towels

There’s no better way to spread scabies throughout a household than to share towels. So after you’re done using a towel make sure it gets isolated and not touched again until it is washed. If you share a house with uninfested people this is an extremely important step. You never know who likes to use your towels.

Tip #31) Be sure to do follow up treatments in your regimen

After your first dose of stromectol/ivermectin and/or permethrin you will indefinitely feel some relief from the condition. It might be tempting to avoid doing a second or third round of treatments but this is a huge mistake! The reason we do multiple treatments is to address unhatched eggs or mites that we missed on the first round. You will be mad at yourself if you stop treating yourself too soon!

Tip #32) If you are strapped for cash, avoid the temptation to try to cure with home remedies.

If you don’t have much money to spend on this condition then just go straight for the permethrin and ivermectin cure. If you buy permethrin over the counter (Amazon / Ebay) and get the ivermectin gel it will be inexpensive and you will be done with the condition very quickly.

Tip #33) Buy multiple pairs of cheap shoes and lots of socks.

Scabies frequently infest the feet and your socks and shoes can be carrying live mites at any given time. For this reasons you should never wear the same pair of socks twice, and also cycle different pairs of shoes. When you are not wearing a pair of shoes keep them in the freezer and/or spray them with disinfectant

Tip #34) If you have lots of carpeting roll up what you can

Scabies linger in carpet and can keep you infested. If you can roll up whatever carpet in your house and keep it rolled up until well after the infestation is over with.

Tip #35) Be mindful of over treating yourself

While it’s important to be vigilant and treat yourself extensively, it is also important to keep aware that you could be ruining your skin with too many treatments. Now I doubt you’ll actually “ruin” your skin. You might just damage it quite a bit, but still. If you are treating with permethrin just avoid other natural treatments to help ease your skin. Occasional sulphur baths are all that i’d recommend. 

Tip #36) On “Curing scabies from the inside out”

You might run into advice online saying that scabies is a result of an internal imbalance in your body and if you resolve you’re diseased state internally that scabies will go away. Use your common sense and avoid these types of advise. Scabies is going to infest even the healthiest of people, it doesn’t matter.

Tip #37) Be wary of bleach

Bleach baths are commonly recommended online and even by healthcare professionals. Bleach is not going to cure your scabies though, so i’d say staunchly avoid the stuff.

 Tip #38) Utilize forums on the web that talk about scabies.

The topix forum can be helpful on occasion. also Curezone and

Tip #39) Become very familiar with what scabies burrows look like.

When it comes to diagnosing scabies and figuring out whether you have them or are suffering from post scabies it is very important that you can distinguish what the burrows from active mites look like.

Scabies buHere is a picture of how the mites burrows will appear on your skin ->

Tip #40) Never underestimate a “mild” case of scabies.

Scabies is scabies. Either you have it or you don’t, and no matter what if you have it you need to treat it seriously. It doesn’t matter if you are not being bothered by it like some of the people you read online about, you NEED to treat it or it will never leave your life, and you will spread it to other people as well.

Tip #41) Tread lightly when it comes to scabies and pregnancy.

I have not had to be involved with scabies during a pregnancy, so I can not give adequate advice on the topic. But I will say that you should be VERY careful when treating yourself if you are pregnant; especially if it is a new pregnancy. No one wants to harm their babies. Please do your research!

Tip #42) Never settle with leaving scabies untreated

This is just a big no no. Not necessarily because you are hurting yourself by doing this, but because you have the potential to pass this condition on to OTHER people. Which is a horrible thing to have to feel like you’ve done.

Tip #43) can scabies kill you?

Surprisingly this gets hundreds of google searches a month. No scabies can not kill you. 🙂

Tip #44) Are scabies really that contagious? 

The answer is a resounding yes. Scabies can be passed on to other people in extremely unsuspecting ways. All it takes is to be in the same environment with someone who has the mites, maybe not even there at the same time as them, and you are at risk from picking up scabies. You can get scabies even from just being downwind from someone who is scratching their itch!

Tip #45) Scabies in your scalp 

Many people have reported that scabies can survive and thrive in the human scalp. If you think your scabies condition has spread above your neckline it would be a VERY good idea to add shampoos to your treatment regimen. A good product to use for this is Sulfur8 Shampoo.

Tip 46#) Can you see scabies mites?

The answer is no. Scabies mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye. You need a microscope yourself or have a doctor analyze your skin for the mites.

Tip #47) There’s only 47 tips 😉

But you’re sure to get 53 more tips and then some from the comment section below. So there’s a bit of truth to it still.

How to Boost Your Immune System for Scabies

Strengthening Your Natural Immunity for Scabies Treatment

Those with impaired immune systems become easy targets for a thriving scabies population. Individuals with the weakest resistance get the worst cases of scabies, developing Norwegian/crusted scabies. This condition means the mites have multiplied into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions. Yuck.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

If you want to fight scabies with your immune system then this is the post for you. I don’t personally think it is the best approach, but power to you. Here’s the tips to do it right by strongly improving your immune response.

1) Get sufficient sleep and relaxation.

A stressed out, overworked and under-slept body is a perfect environment for scabies to thrive. Your immune system works its best when you are well rested and have minimal tension and friction in your life. Sleep a lot. In a pitch dark room, sans electronics, with earplugs even. You need solid blocks of sleep to produce HGH, which is how the body heals itself. Go to bed an hour earlier at night. Make a ritual out of it. Try to take on less responsibilities from work while you go through this. Take time off of work, if it is within your means.

2) Supplement your immune system.

You can ingest immune tonics to boost your bodies response and essential oils that travel to the skin and cause extreme irritation to the mites. Listed below are great supplements that boost your immune response and it’s production of antibodies.

Nature’s Way System Well: Ultimate Immunity

SystemWell is the most powerful and broadly approaching immune booster out there. SystemWell is the multi-system defense formula for seven essential aspects of healthy immunity. 1) Epidermal 2) Respiratory 3) Digestive 4) Systemic 5) Circulatory 6) Cellular 7) Lymphatic. It is very effective at treating immune threats at all levels.

IP6 & Inositol 

IP6 & Inositol is one of the most potent immune boosters known to man. It has been used successfully to treat all kinds of cancer. IP6 is a phosphorylated form of inositol commonly found in fiber-rich plant foods. IP6 supports immunity and cardiovascular health by enhancing Natural Killer (NK) cells. It has cleared out cancers that chemo could not and also helped to replace the cancerous cells with new healthy ones. I started to notice a large tipping point when I started to take this supplement. I highly recommend this product, check out the reviews on Amazon!

Oregano oil

Oregano oil provides many internal treatment benefits. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-allergen, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.  When purchasing oregano oil you want to be sure it contains the active compound Carvacrol. It should read in the range 70-80%. When I was taking it I could smell it on my skin. It no doubt agitated the mites. Here is a good buying option.


Turmeric is an ancient health booster. It boasts many healing and restorative properties – aiding the immune system and skin health – along with many other benefits; too many to list here. But I’ll link you to some pages that explain all of the life improving characteristics of this herb.

Doctors best Curcumin C3 Complex contains perine, which helps improve absorption – Doctors best is a trusted brand that I have had a great experience with.


A long renowned immune booster, Echinacea is an advisable supplement to give your system an added boost. Nature’s Way offers a very good deal – working out to just 4 cents per pill.

3) Move your body and relax your mind.

Over thinking causes stress. Not enough physical movement causes stagnation.

I know it can be super stressful to think about your scabies infestation. There is a lot of discomfort and worry. I know I was always fearful of spreading the mites, and always wondering where I got them from in the first place.

A good solution to this is to keep your mind occupied by keeping yourself active. Go running, go for a hike, walk the dog, lift some weights. These are all healthy for your body and immune system and by keeping you moving lessen the chance that you will fall into a thinking rut.

**NOTE** These immune boosters will NOT cure you of scabies on their own. It is HIGHLY advisable that your main treatment be Ivermectin and Permethrin. 

A strong immune system cannot kill off scabies infestations on its own. While you can greatly reduce the spread of mites and disable some from calling your body home, there is a reason why your bodies defenses alone will not work.

Scabies can secrete enzymes which will effectively block attacks from you’re immune system. Think of it like a protective barrier. They create a “shell” around them which cannot be penetrated by the immune system killer cells.

So that sucks. But if you want to learn about how to completely kill of a scabies infection then check out my guide to eradicating scabies.

The very first thing to do when you get Scabies.

Before you panic,

Before you tear your clothes off and hop in the shower,

Before you start cursing at the person who gave it to you,

Before you start researching the hell out of these weird bugs online (whoops, looks like you already are),

… Before you do anything, CUT YOUR NAILS!

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

It is so simple and it can make a real difference in how fast and how far the mites spread.


Because every time you scratch yourself with long nails you are likely to pick up mites, potentially hundreds, from infected parts of your skin. Then, as you continue to scratch or touch things in your environment you will be spreading those mites all over the place.

So please, cut those nails!

That is all. Please refer to the other posts on this website to get a handle on your infestation before it gets worse.

How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

5 Early Signs & First Symptoms of a Scabies Infestation

How to Buy Over the Counter Permethrin Cream Online

Scabies: How to scratch your skin without spreading mites

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

So if you really just can’t find a way to control yourself and stop scratching, here is a way to scratch more safely. And by safely I mean limiting the amount of scabies mites you are spreading across your body and in your environment.

Coat your hands (especially under your nails) in essential oils such as clove or tea tree oil before you go to bed, or anytime you have the desire to scratch. Scratch at your leisure and remember keep your fingers oiled up.

This way any scratching will potentially kill mites instead of providing a safe ride for them to other parts of the body.

It will still not be good for your skin, but this method eliminates the potential for spreading the mites further around your body/environment.

Return to hub page

Scabies: 3 Reasons to Avoid scratching Yourself

3 reasons to avoid scratching yourself

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

Here are some reasons to avoid over-itching and damaging your skin.

I know it’s extremely tempting to scratch your skin when you have Scabies. Even that is an understatement, it is RIDICULOUS how much these damn mites make you want to dig into your skin.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

My recommendation is to avoid scratch as much as possible. I know I am going against the grain here by telling you should avoid doing what your body is screaming at you to do – but hear me out.

The 3 reasons are as follows:

1) You will spread the mites, everywhere.

A really big part of eliminating your scabies infestation is containment. You want the mites to stay on/in your skin until your treatments are able to kill them effectively at the source. You don’t want to be spreading the mites all over your house/car/workplace because you will likely reinfect yourself, or even worse infect those around you, which also will likely result in you getting reinfected later on. Not fun.

Every time you scratch your skin you’re likely to pick up mites and dead skin under your nails. Not only will you be spreading the mites across your body, you will be spreading them throughout your environment.

So say you scratch your heavily infested arms; chances are you will get some mites stuck in your fingernails or hand. There they will stay until you scratch yourself somewhere else – say your not so infested ankle – or touch something else in your environment like the door to your car. Now the mites will sit at their new location waiting to be picked up again by their favorite tasty food source (you) or by a new, unsuspecting poor soul.

In addition, with heavy scratching the mites and dead skin can be introduced into the open air. They will either fall directly to the ground and contaminate your carpet/couch, or they will catch a draft and float to who knows where. 

This is tremendously problematic because the mites can live for multiple days without food. This is doubly problematic if they are attached to pieces of dead skin as their lifespan will extend even longer because they have a food source to nibble on (your dead skin cells) for days to come.

2) You will put added stress on your skin.

Having scabies is rough on the skin. I mean bugs living in your skin, slurping your blood and leaving allergenic debris in their wake. Destructive, gross and nightmarish.

When you scratch at your skin you are only burying those issues deeper. You are embedding the scabies and their excrement deeper into the layers of your skin and you run the risk of secondary infection from opening up new wounds.

So while it’s temporarily relieving when you scratch (and I mean very temporary), you are actually just creating more damage and more potential for itching down the road since you will have to deal with skin irritation for longer. This also means you will have a harder time deciphering real scabies from post scabies since you will be guaranteed to continue to feel itchy long after the scabies have been killed off.

3) You will likely only make the itching worse.

I’ve already eluded to this. But yeah, pretty straight forward. The only thing scratching yourself provides is momentary pleasure.

It doesn’t make the itch go away – it actually makes it more intense.

The temporary relief it provides is nice but it also ensures continued long term discomfort. It could even help to spread the infestation.

10 Anti-itch remedies for scabies

10 anti itch remedies for scabies

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

Here is a quick list of remedies to greatly reduce itchiness

1) Shower in cold / luke warm water instead of hot water.

You’re scalding hot showers are likely to make your itch worse. This is because excessively hot water quickly dries out and irritates the skin. If you instead bathe in cold water you will soothe your skin as well as keeping the natural balance of oils (like sebum) intact. Your skin is already suffering.. don’t make it worse.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

If you cannot handle cold water showers then start out warm and gradually decrease the temperature until it is just enough that you can bear it. This is a challenge for people who love their hot showers, so if you are one of those people and are unwilling to go cold, at least consider turning down the temperature a few notches and ending your shower with cold water to cool of the skin.

It seriously helps.

2) Be picky with your soap and detergents. 

Soaps can also strip of your skin of natural oils. Most of the soaps in the store have ingredients that are known skin irritants and often create inflammation and eczema like symptoms. Soaps that have these ingredients include: Dial, Irish Spring, Neutrogena, Axe, Old Spice, Bed Bath & Beyond…

By avoiding the irritants and instead using a soap that will reduce your scabies symptoms you will make you feel much better.

3) Pop an antihistamine. 

Antihistamines block your bodies histamine response to allergens. Since the itch of scabies is caused by your bodies allergic reaction to the mites and their debri taking an antihistamine will temporarily relieve your itch. It is good to take antihistamines before bed if you are really losing sleep because of the condition.

Chlorophen-12 (Amazon link) is a very effective antihistamine and comes in 12 hour extended release tablets.

You could also pick up Benadryl tablets and/or Benadryl skin cream.

4) Try soaking in colloidal oatmeal 

Colloidal oatmeal is simply oats ground into an extremely fine powder. It has properties that comfort the itch very well. When added to bathwater, it creates a milky cloud that stays in the water and doesn’t just sink to the bottom of the bath. Since it is ground so finely it sets into the skin, nourishing it and keeping the itch away.

Run your bath with lukewarm water, and while the tub is filling, add a packet (two to three cups) of colloidal oatmeal under the faucet to help disperse the oatmeal. You may have the urge to take a hot bath, but this will only irritate the skin and remove moisture from your body, so a warm bath is preferable.

Some good ingredients to add to your oatmeal bath are, of course, colloidal oatmeal, then baking soda and coconut oil will add a nice finishing touch to the bath that also really helps out your skin.

Feel free to take upwards of three baths a day. After a long soak, it is good to wash off a bit in cold water to keep your skin nice and cool. 

*Note: Some people have moderate to severe gluten allergies. If this is your case try out a gluten-free option of this oatmeal bath. Here is a link to a gluten free colloidal bath packet.

5) Take an epsom salt bath.

Another great soaking option for the itch is to take an epsom salt bath.

Epsom salts, also called magnesium-sulphate, reduce inflammation, help keep your mineral contents in check (it is important to get enough magnesium, especially if you are taking calcium, as calcium can diminish magnesium amounts in the body.

If you like to take a super hot bath that is okay, as the heat will help the salts to absorb into your skin better, but it could also leave your skin a bit dryer than you’d like. To remedy this be sure to rinse off in cold water after your bath to keep your skin comfortable. 

Feel free to add other ingredients into your bath. Baking soda is always a good option, as well as essential oils like neem oil, jojoba oil, and tee trea oil.

6) Drink lots of water

Pretty straight forward. You are made of water and you need to keep ingesting it so your body stays healthy. This especially holds true for the health of your skin! It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you don’t drink enough water your skin will dry and you will be more itchy. 

I don’t have a specific amount of water that I recommend. That’s because we all have different bodies and require different amounts. Also food plays a role, as some people meet their water requirements more easily by eating water rich foods like fruits.

Just drink enough! Also, carrying a water bottle around makes it 10 times easier.

7) Clean up your diet

Some foods will make people more prone to itchy skin. Issues like psoriasis and dermatitis are often food related, and what you eat could make the difference between skin that is ravaged by itchiness and skin which doesn’t react hardly as much.

Overall you want to avoid foods that contain natural histamines (your body is already creating enough to combat the mites) and foods that you are allergic too.

Here is a list of foods you might want to avoid or cut down on during your scabies infestation because they are high in histamines:

  • Red wine
  • Aged cheese
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt)
  • Bacon (and other cured meats)
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Artificial food colors and preservatives
  • Spices
  • Alcohol
  • Vinegar

Other foods that commonly cause allergic reactions, often involving skin irritation include:

  • Tree Nuts
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • colorings, additives

8) Wear the right materials.

Clothing matters when it comes to keeping the itch at bay. It’s hard not to become hyper sensitive to what materials affects your skin while you have Scabies. Here I will list some to avoid and some to wear.

Clothing materials to avoid: 

  • New clothes, regardless of materials. They often have additives (ex. formaldehyde) on them to avoid creasing,
  • Latex
  • Wool
  • overly tight clothes

Materials to wear:

  • cotton
  • dye free / perfume free 
  • silk
  • linen
  • Loose clothing

9) Stay cool.

Try to stay away from hot and muggy environments. Sticky and sweaty = itchy. 

Turn on your AC if it’s hot. Take a cool shower if you’re hot. Shed layers if needed. Do what you can to keep your skin at a comfortable temperature at all times.

10) Use Caladryl lotion

Caladryl is very effective itch reducer. You may have encountered it when visiting your grandparents house when you were a kid, as Caladryl has been used for generations to treat all kinds of itchiness. 

Oddly enough, this lotion has lost favor over recent decades. It has been mysteriously pulled from shelves of major suppliers and replaced by larger brand moisturizers.

This is not necessarily a good thing! In fact, it shows that Caladryl is in fact a worthy competitor to anti-itch lotions that the big industries are pushing.

I found this lotion to be the most effective that I tried for scabies. Check out the reviews on Amazon to see the support people give for this stuff!

Return to Guidebook

Scabies: A guidebook to handling the itch.

Links to the guide below


Section #1: 10 Anti-itch remedies for Scabies


Section #2: Scabies: Three Reasons to Avoid Scratching Yourself


Section #3: How to Itch Your Skin Without Spreading the Mites