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What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Scabies is a parasitic infection on your skin that is caused by microscopic mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. They linger just beneath the skin’s surface, laying eggs that cause an itchy skin rash. What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Scabies is infectious and could be passed through skin-to-skin contact. Transmission can also be from clothing or bedding that has been used by the infected person. The rash caused by scabies is exceedingly itchy, growing even worse at night.

If you have scabies, you might see bumps beneath your skin, swollen red bumps, small bites on the skin’s surface, and burrow tracks from the mites. What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? In adults and older kids, scabies rashes typically develop between fingers or between thighs. They may also develop on the wrists, waist, elbows, armpits, nipples, or buttocks. For infants, older people, or those with a weakened immune system, scabies rashes may develop on the neck, face, head, hands, and the bottoms of the feet.

Prescription Treatment

What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Treatment for scabies, called scabicides, target both the mites and their eggs. They can only be gotten by doctor’s prescription. Aside from the scabicides, the physician may also prescribe antibiotics in case you develop a skin infection from scratching a scabies rash.

Some of the options for scabies prescriptions are the following:


It is a generally effective 5 percent permethrin cream that is the most commonly prescribed scabies treatment on the market. It could be used for children as young as 2 months.


It is a 10 percent crotamiton lotion that is safe to use for adults but not for children. Its effectiveness varies depending on the situation.


Lindane lotion is a last-resort treatment usually suggested when other prescriptions fail to work. It is not recommended for lactating mothers, premature infants, people who experience seizures, and people who weigh less than 110 pounds.

Over-the-counter Treatments


What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Nix is an over-the-counter version of 1 percent permethrin. It is often used for head lice treatment. The use of at least 5 percent permethrin is sometimes recommended in order to get rid both of the mites and their eggs. With Nix containing only 1 percent, it might not be enough to kill the entire infestation.

Sulfur Soaps and Creams

Sulfur can be a component of soaps, ointments, and shampoos. There are over-the-counter soaps and creams containing 6 to 10 percent sulfur. Though generally safe, it is better to discuss with your doctor if you could use these, especially if you are already taking prescription meds.

Calamine Lotion

What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Calamine lotion treats the symptom of itchiness and doesn’t eliminate the mites nor their eggs. It doesn’t eliminate scabies itself too. It provides a cooling sensation on the skin that eases the itchiness. Clean your skin with soap and water and pat it dry. Afterwards, apply the lotion using cotton or a soft cloth. You can apply calamine lotion up to 4 times a day.


Like calamine lotion, antihistamines treat the symptom of itchiness and doesn’t eliminate the mites nor their eggs. They relieve itching. Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin are some of the popular antihistamines available over the counter, along with Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton though the latter two could make you drowsier than the others.

Treating Your Home

What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? As stated above, scabies is very contagious and spreads fast. As such, you will need to treat your home as well to remove the scabies from your environment.

  • Use disinfectant sprays on surfaces and clothing. Better to choose those that contain permethrin too.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol or Lysol to kill insects on hard surfaces like desks and tables.
  • Wash clothes and linens with hot water.
  • If you have pets, bathe them with a pet-specific solution, like a sulfur concentrate pet drip.
  • Steam clean your carpets if you have them.
  • Replace your mattress or cover it up for a few weeks to kill off the scabies.

Preventing further spread

What are over – the – counter treatments for scabies? Discuss with your physician how to treat your scabies. Some over-the-counter treatments may work for some of the symptoms, but it is better to kill off the scabies as soon as possible.

Here are some tips on how to prevent further spread of scabies:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Avoid touching items such as the clothing or bedding of a person who may have scabies.
  • If anyone in your household has scabies, seek treatment immediately, even if you don’t have it yourself.
  • Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Keep the house clean and tidy. Clean and vacuum each room, wash linens in hot, soapy water, and keep anything unwashable in a sealed plastic bag for at least 72 hours to kill off the scabies.

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