Scabies and bacterial infections

8 ways to cure scabies 

with the Healthy Skin Program

How does scabies lead to an infection?

What are some symptoms?

What is the treatment?

Choice of antibiotics


SMZ-TMP (Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim)


Other antibiotics

What difference did treatment make?

Where can I get the antibiotics?

How does scabies lead to an infection?

As you probably know, scabies itches like mad. It is nearly impossible not to scratch. Scratching creates breaks or openings in your skin and bacteria can infect a sore. That bacteria gets into your blood stream and spreads throughout your body. So the infection spreads from one sore to another via your blood. When an infection spreads throughout one's body it is called a "systemic infection".

But here is the special reason scabies can lead to a systemic bacterial infection: scabies mites produce proteins in their saliva so the mites can hide from your immune system. But those chemicals also allow staph and strep bacteria to hide and multiply out of control. Those bacteria circulate in your blood throughout your body. So those sores that won’t heal may actually be getting re-infected from the inside! No topical ointment can cure that. The infection is inside, so you need to take an oral antibiotic to cure it.

This is especially likely if you have had scabies for a while you may be fighting BOTH scabies AND a bacterial infection! If you are you have to treat them BOTH to be completely cured.

What are some symptoms?

I had a severe case of scabies for over a year, so I had scratched myself silly. I probably had over a hundred sores and one day I looked down and every sore was infected. The symptoms I had were general fatigue, pus (or clear liquid) in the sores (under the scabs) and red skin around each scab. The sores would scab over, I would scratch them open again and they simply never healed. Towards the end some of the infections went in a quarter inch or more deep.

I didn't realize it at the time, but my body was swollen with excess fluid, too. That gave me swollen ankles and sore joints.

What is the treatment?

I went to an inner city clinic because I have found they are more familiar with treating scabies and it's complications. The doctor prescribed cephalexin (a relative of penicillin). She prescribed a 7 day course of 500 mg cephalexin every 12 hours (see Cephalexin Dosages, below). Amazingly, Wal-Mart only charged $4 to fill the entire prescription! Pretty amazing because they had charged $80 for a tube of permethrin cream and $40 per dose for ivermectin. If you can't get a prescription, you can order it on-line from a fish supply store. The doses required are listed below.

I was amazed to see my swollen ankles and sore joints clear up. My blood pressure dropped 40 points. The sores cleared up and healed. Afterwards I started taking a supplement called NAC and that helped even more.

Lately some of these on-line suppliers have been closing down so they are getting harder to find. One great source for people who know where to buy antibiotics are forums for folks who are preparing for the end of civilization. They stock up on beans and antibiotics and such. Google "survivalist antibiotics" to find them.

Here is a YouTube video showing how I used ivermectin horse paste

Choice of antibiotics

There are at least three antibiotics one can choose from for  a systemic bacterial infection. It is best to get a clinic to take a sample of the pus or liquid to check and see if you have some exotic antibiotic-resistant infection, but usually the doctor just prescribes one of the following antibiotics immediately.

The dose depends on your age (or weight) and how severe the infection is.


(dosing according to

Drug interactions: taking cephalexin with metformin or probenecid may cause bad side effects. For instance, taking cephalexin and metformin may cause kidney problems.

Warnings: if you have kidney problems, or are pregnant or breast-feeding, check with your doctor before taking any of these medications. Also, if you have allergic reactions (hives, trouble breathing, or diarrhea) stop taking it and check with your doctor.

Length of time to take cephalexin: 7 days for a mild infection, up to 14 days

Adult or Child (15-64)

1-4 grams (depending on how severe the infection is)

Common dose is 1,000mg/day (split up as one 250 mg pill taken every 6 hours or one 500 mg pill taken every 12 hours

Some doctors are upping the dose to 2,000 mg/day (split up as  one 500 mg pill 4 times a day or or two 500 mg pills taken every 12 hours)

Child 1-14

It is recommended to see your doctor to get a proper prescription for children.

25 to 50 mg per kg of bodyweight (11 to 22 mg per pound) (split into 2 to 4 doses each day)

Put simply, at around 12 mg per pound, a 40 pound child would get 500 mg/day, 60 pound child gets 750 mg/day and an 80 pound child 1,000 mg/day. Those amounts are split into two half-doses (for instance, if it’s 500 mg a day, then one 250 pill is taken every 12 hours). 

Children under 1 year

See your doctor!

Adults over 65

See your doctor!

“The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body”

More sources for dosing information:, 

Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)

Adults and children over 40 kg (88 pounds)

One pill every 12 hours for 10 to 14 days (each pill is 800 mg of sulfamethoxazole and 160 mg of trimethoprim)

Children 2 months of age and over up to 40 kg (88 pounds)

See your doctor to get an exact prescription and dosage.

Recommended dose for children: 40 mg per kg (18 mg per pound) of sulfamethoxazole and 8 mg/kg (3.6 mg per pound) of trimethoprim (don’t you love math?).

Here’s an example, a 44 pound child would get one-half of a pill twice a day. For other weights it would be hard to figure out how to split up the pills.


The Healthy Skin Program of Australia recommends, “Treat with a single intramuscular (IM) dose of benzathine penicillin G (BPG)” (page 5 of the Healthy Skin booklet). In other words, a shot of penicillin. Obviously that is easier to administer, but you would need a doctor to do this.

Other antibiotics

Some folks seem to have luck with doxycycline. I have no information to doubt that or to recommend it. There are a lot of antibiotics but each one is tailored to treat different bacteria or to reach different body areas. I figure it’s safer to stick with the cephalexin, penicillin or SMZ-TMP or whatever a doctor prescribes.

What difference did treatment make?

I took the entire course of cephalexin antibiotic. My infected sores healed. My fatigue went away. My blood pressure dropped 40 points. I hadn't realized the systemic infection had caused my body to swell with excess fluids. My itching also decreased. It turns out an infected sore can itch, too.

The Healthy Skin Program suggests treating infected sores with a shot of “IM benzathine penicillin (erythromycin or roxithromycin for 10 days, if allergic to penicillin)", but the cephalexin did the trick for me. The clinic took a sample of the pus from one sore and tested it to check if I had an antibiotic resistant bacteria. I didn't, but I am glad they checked.

The bacteria that usually appear in these infections are Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) or Staphylococcus aureus. If left untreated the infection can result in rheumatic fever, heart disease and kidney disease. More information here.

The bottom line is if you have scabies, you may also have a systemic infection and not realize it. Consider getting looked at and getting a prescription for antibiotics.

Where can I get the antibiotics?

You have to go to a doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics, but if you have been to a doctor for scabies already, they might prescribe them for you if you simply call them and ask. Regardless, if you notice your sores seem infected, inner city clinics are usually more responsive and cheaper than suburban or hospital doctors.

Oddly, the same cephalexin one gets at a pharmacy is available at aquatic stores to treat one's pet fish. I have ordered from an aquatic pet store and their products seemed genuine. Here is a good article about this. So if you want to treat your fish, go to an aquatic (fish) supply store on-line. UPDATE March 2024: try here for cephalexin. It’s hard for me to keep up with changing links and pandemics and whatever.

By the way, these online stores sometimes overstep the FDA's guidelines and get shut down…that's hard for me to keep up with. So if you find a dead link, please email and let me know so I can update things! A link to email me is at the bottom of every page on my site.

Cephalexin is a form of penicillin which people don't tend to be as allergic to. Wikipedia says "Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing, or red, blistered, swollen, or peeling skin. Overall, cephalexin allergy occurs in less than 0.1% of patients, but it is seen in 1% to 10% of patients with a penicillin allergy."

Please email me (link below) if you find a source for Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim. (SMZ-TMP).

NOTE: I have no connection with any of these on-line stores. I don’t get a commission or anything else from them.  I am just sharing sources and information.

Click here to download the Healthy Skin Program 27 page booklet.

NOTE: I also made my own 5% permethrin cream. The manufacturer of the permethrin concentrate threatened to sue me so I had to take down my video showing how I did that. I am in the process of rewriting my web site to avoid getting sued or prosecuted and still give you as much information as I can about what worked for me. 

One thing I can definitely tell you is to avoid any permethrin concentrate that contains petroleum distillates…they can really irritate your skin.

Hope this helps you!

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