Curing my scabies
About 18 months ago I had a small patch of bumpy, itchy skin on my arm, so I went to a dermatologist and he said "Eczema" and told me to put skin lotion on it.
Well, the itch spread from my elbow to my other elbow, up and down my arms, down to my legs, etc.
I went to another dermatologist. He said "Eczema" and told me to put regular skin lotion on it. I now have a row of bottles of useless lotion.
After months of research, I finally figured out I might have scabies. I read 5% permethrin cream was the treatment.
I went to an inner city clinic and the doctor didn't think I had scabies, but I said "Can it hurt anything for me to try the cream?" She gave in and I got a prescription for the 5% permethrin cream. Went to Wal-Mart and it was $80 for a 2 ounce tube! $80!!! I bought a tube and smeared it on, but 2 ounces wasn't enough to really cover me all over.
So I learned how to make my own. I ordered 10% permethrin (with no petroleum distillates) from Amazon and bought skin lotion at Wal-Mart. I mixed up my own home-made 5% permethrin cream and spread it all over. It went on much smoother than the prescription cream. Mixing up enough permethrin and lotion to make 4 ounces cost $4 (that's $2 a "tube").
I even made video on how to make your own 5% permethrin cream and put it on YouTube and got lots of views and grateful comments (see “My DIY instructions and video story” at the bottom of this page for how that went.
I thought I was cured and getting better when — "wham!" — 5 weeks later the scabies came back with a vengeance. That really freaked me out. I had done everything according to the book and still wasn't cured. I wondered if maybe I didn't have scabies…maybe it was "something else." I itched so much I could only sleep a few hours at a time. I was going insane from sleep deprivation and despair.
I did more research. I read piles of studies and tests and what their results were. Finally I found the Center for Disease Control of Northern Australia had a program for treating the scabies epidemic among the aborigines. It combined almost everything I had read in many separate studies. It is called the "Healthy Skin Program."
The key to this program was using both a topical (applied to your skin) AND an oral medication. I used my home-made 5% permethrin cream on my skin and I went and talked the clinic doctor into giving me a prescription for 2 doses of ivermectin pills. Went to good old Wal-Mart, the "Always low prices" place, and they charged $40 per dose of ivermectin!!!
The Healthy Skin Program involved 7 doses of ivermectin, and the good doctor wouldn't prescribe any more…so I wound up using ivermectin "horse paste". It is a paste they squirt into animals' mouths to treat them for intestinal parasites. I used it to treat my scabies. Only $4 for 5 doses! It tasted a bit yucky, but I was in ivermectin heaven. I cannot recommend anyone else to do what I did…I'm just telling you my personal journey as it occurred.
Permethrin cream can irritate your skin, so you can only use it once a week. And after you apply it you feel better immediately, but then the itching can turn on even worse. Partly because all of a sudden you have dead scabies mites and eggs under your skin and your body doesn't like that.
So in between the permethrin and ivermectin that I used each week for 4 weeks, I also applied home-made sulfur cream. It stopped the itch so I could sleep. I think I slept ten hours straight the first night I used the sulfur lotion. I was so elated! But the sulfur did dry my skin out so I ordered some Eurax lotion and tried that. Wonder of wonders, it stopped the itch so I could sleep AND it softened my skin. Eurax is the only skin product that didn't make me suffer when I used it — and it kills scabies mites, too. From what I read Eurax isn't as powerful as permethrin, but I figured if I used them both (not on the same day) I'd have a better chance at a cure.
The second week I took ivermectin 4 days in a row. I think I may taken 2 doses on one of those days. Bad idea. Late one night I suddenly realized I had developed tunnel vision. The edges of my field of vision darkened, kind of like when they show someone using a binoculars on TV, like I was looking down a tunnel. I had read about that so I wasn't scared…in fact, by now I didn't really care. I was so used to perpetual suffering it seemed almost normal. So I went to bed and my vision was fine in the morning. That's one of the wonderful things about ivermectin. If you use it only once or twice a week there are no side effects. And if you do overdose, the side effects are temporary. I'm just telling you about my experience so you'll be smarter than me!
I had been itching and scratching for over a year and so I had open sores all over. I noticed they seemed to be infected so I went back to the clinic. They were very interested in looking me over. The doctor even called in another doctor to have a look at me. I have learned it is never a good sign when a doctor is interested in me. It means something is seriously wrong. They took a sample of the infection and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic (cephalexin, a relative of penicillin) and, you guessed it, off I went to Wal-Mart to bleed money again. To my surprise cephalexin is on Wal-Mart's "blessed" list and a 14 day supply was only $4! Oh happy day!
I took the antibiotic religiously while I continued the Healthy Skin Program. My infections cleared up and my blood pressure dropped 40 points. I hadn't realized my swollen ankles were caused by a systemic bacterial infection ("systemic" means it is everywhere in the body).
Anyway, after 29 days I was at the end of the Healthy Skin Program. I still itched here and there now and then, but no where near like I used to. I was paranoid as hell, so when I felt even one little prick I applied the Eurax lotion. My skin has gotten better gradually. As I write this it has been 2 months since the end of the program. I am cured. I have no living scabies mites on me. The scar tissue from a year and a half's scratching is healing gradually.
UPDATE: it is over a year now and the scar tissue has all been replced by new, healthy skin. Also, darker, pigmented spots which I had have faded gradually.
Just so you know, during this long program piles of laundry had to be done. All sheets, towels, pillows and clothes had to be run through the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes before being reused (it is essential for the laundry to be completely dry first, and then to run it through the dryer on high for 30 minutes — the dry heat kills the mites and their eggs). And I treated some furniture and my car seats with permethrin, too. All the details are on my other scabies pages.
But after all this, even after my scabies was cured, and after my bacterial infection was gone, I still didn’t feel “normal”. I didn’t have much energy. I did more research and wound up taking a supplement called NAC. After a few days taking that I felt normal again. Click here to read my page Nac: Feeling “normal” again.
And in the midst of all this suffering some videos and this web site have been born. Hopefully they will help other folks to cure their scabies. And not have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on medical bills. And not have to beg, and then get turned down, for enough medication to actually do the job. It's a good feeling to finally be in control. Whew!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or any sort of medical professional. I cannot diagnose or prescribe anything for you. I can tell you what I did, but that was for me. I did my own research, came to my own conclusions and I take responsibility for all of that. The same is true for you. Do your own research, come to your own conclusions and take responsibility for that. I am not telling you what to do or not to do. I am not telling you anything is “safe” because it is always possible for you to be allergic or to not follow instructions or whatever. I often had to proceed even though I knew I didn’t have complete enough information to be sure what the results of my actions would be, but I knew I had to do something or I would suffer forever. Follow your own star, live your own life, and don’t follow anyone else blindly. Otherwise you are living their life and nobody will have lived your life. I hope that makes sense.
My DIY instructions and video story
As I said, I made video describing how I made my own 5% permethrin cream and put it up on YouTube. Not surprisingly, a lot of people watched it and made their own and treated themselves.
Well, then a guy who sells some home-made permethrin lotion and sells it on-line wrote telling me I was killing his business and had a whole sob story about his family. I checked and found someone was going around the web writing reviews of other scabies products criticizing them and talking up this guy’s stuff. I can’t say for sure, but it looked to me like this guy was writing bogus reviews criticizing other products and puffing up his own product. It sounded too suspicious to me so I couldn’t recommend his product. And I refused to take down my DIY permethrin cream video just so he could sell more of his home brew.
Well, magically the permethrin company calls me and threatens to sue me and have the EPA and FDA prosecute me. Gee, I wonder who called them? And because I don’t want the permethrin company to sue me, I can’t describe how I did it or recommend it or anything. Oh well. I made a page with directions for how to mix up permethrin lotion for treating scabies on any animals except cats. When wet, permethrin is toxic to cats and certain breeds of dogs, such as collies (all the info is on my treating animals with permethrin page). With animals scabies is called "mange".