Q. My 6 years old boy has developed severe skin infection since 6 months. Doctors say, its "Scabies" and since 6 months its not coming under control, infact its spreading more. The skin on which we have applied creams and lotions has become very dark and patchy, it stops from one area and develops into another. Please advise me some homoeopathic treatment and also please explain to me all about scabies.
Ans. What are scabies ?
Scabies is a fairly common infectious disease of the skin caused by a mite. Scabies mites burrow into the skin producing pimple-like irritation or burrows.

Who gets scabies ?
Scabies infestations can affect people from all socioeconomic levels without regards to age, sex, race or standards of personal hygiene. Clusters of cases, or outbreaks are occasionally seen in nursing homes, institutions and child care centres.

How is scabies spread ?
Scabies mites are transferred by direct skin-to-skin contact. Indirect transfer from undergarments or bedclothes can occur only if these have been contaminated by infected people immediately beforehand. Scabies can also be transmitted during sexual contact.

What are the symptoms of scabies ?
The most prominent symptom of scabies is intense itching particularly at night. The areas of the skin most affected by scabies include the web and sides of the fingers, around the wrists, elbow and armpits, waist, thighs, genitalia, nipples, breasts and lower buttocks.

How soon do symptoms appear ?
Symptoms will appear from to six weeks in people who have not previously been exposed to scabies infestations. People who have had a previous bout with scabies mites may show symptoms within one to four days after subsequent re-exposures.

When and or how long is a person able to spread scabies ?
A person is able to spread scabies until mites and eggs are destroyed by treatment.

What can be done to prevent the spread of scabies ?
Avoid physical contact with infested individuals and their belongings, especially clothing and bedding. Health education on the life history of scabies, proper treatment and the need for early diagnosis and treatment of infested individuals and contacts is extremely important.

Scabies should be treated immediately as soon as it is diagnosed, otherwise it spreads very fast.

In homoeopathy there are quite a few specific medicines which when prescribed helps the person in getting rid of it without causing any side effects like skin discoloration, etc..

GRAPHITES : Erruptions start from the bends of buttocks, or groins, there is a sticky discharge that oozes out and causes further spread of the erruptions. At times when it dries up, cracks take place which starts bleeding. Itching is very severe at night time, specially in bed (the heat of the bed). Graphites 30, 5 pills four times a day till it comes under control.

SEPIA : When erruptions are dry in nature (no oozing) in the bends of elbows, knees, around the nose, mouth. Itching is worse in cold open air, better in warm room and cleaning the part with warm water. There is offensive odour coming out of the erruptions. Sepia 30, 5 pills four times a day till it subsides.

OLEANDER : When the scalp gets affected with sticky discharge. Hair gets entangled in the discharge. Erruptions are shiny & red and the discharge is very corrosive in nature and causing burning pain wherever it touches the skin. Hair fall out in bunches.

Oleander 30, 5 pills four times a day. Please use mild homoeopathic shampoo and wash your hair daily.

EXTERNAL CLEANING : Wash the infected part well and then apply Calendula and Echinacea 10% solution to make the area sterile and remove the scabies mites. Do this 3-4 times a day.

Also whoever is in contact with scabies patient should clean their hands with this solution as a prevention.

Please remember cleanliness is the most important part of prevention and cure.

Readers are advised that the medical advice offered in this column pertains to generalised treatment of condition. Kindly consult your doctor before self-medication.