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Over-the-counter treatment for scabies

Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by a very small mite.

Although over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are available for scabies, it is recommended that you visit your GP if this is the first time you have had a scabies infestation. This is because other, more serious skin conditions can cause similar symptoms to scabies. It is therefore important for your GP to rule these out as a cause of your symptoms.

However, if another member of your household has already been diagnosed with scabies, you will not need to visit your GP and should proceed with treatment.

OTC treatment
The two most widely used treatments for scabies are permethrin cream and malathion lotion. Permethrin is usually recommended first, and malathion lotion is used if the permethrin cream proves ineffective. Both medications contain insecticides that kill the scabies mite.

Scabies Prevention
It is difficult to prevent scabies. If a person is known to have scabies, they should not have close skin-to-skin contact with others until they have been treated. If one member of a household has scabies, all other household members, sexual partners, and close contacts should be treated simultaneously. Clothing, towels, and bedding from an affected person should be washed in hot water and dried in a dryer. If an article cannot be washed this way, it can be stored away from human contact for three days to eliminate mites.

In the hospital, staff should use gloves and gowns when treating patients who have a suspicious rash and itching.


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