Scabies in Seniors Can Happen

Scabies in seniors is still a major threat and is one that we have first had experience with.

The primary target for these very active, microscopic mites are children, and people in our age for one common reason; our immune system.

Infants and children’s immune system are just developing, and as a result, are still not at full operating strength.

Ours, on the other hand, once we pass the 50-55 year old mark, is just like the rest of our body and is slowing down.

Scabies In Seniors

The older we get, the more compromised it becomes unless we take proactive steps to feed it and make the extra effort to supplement it.

Our first-hand experience came as care givers for my wife’s mother, and we were blessed to have her for about 8 years.

The first few years we had her she was struggling with itchy skin in seniors, but we finally found effective ways to treat that.

However, a few years later, she started to develop severe itching and when we took her to the doctor we were told that she had this infestation.

It is very easy to miss as we age, as it can very easily be confused with dry and itching skin, and if not caught and treated, can become very serious.

We also mistook it for shingles, but it is much, much different than shingles.

It Is Not An Infection

Scabies in seniors is not an infection like shingles; instead it is an infestation.

This fact hit us very hard, as we took pride in keeping our and her environment as clean as we possibly could.

Here are the symptoms that we saw and reacted to.

  • Very intense itching, especially at night
  • A rash that almost look like pimples
  • Blisters as well as scaling in the skin
  • Sores that are the result of intense scratching

Once we had her checked and learned that it was scabies, our first thought was that she had gotten this infestation from our dog.

So the next thing we did was take our dog to our veterinarian, and found that he did not have this infestation, and our Vet actually explained this condition in detail to us.

Scabies in seniors is the result of a microscopic mite referred to as “Sarcoptes scabiei” that has infested a specific host.

If you are a pet owner in our age group, this is very important to note the term “specific” host.

These mites, also called “itch mites”, are very host specific and there are several different kinds of them. The kind or breed that will attack your dog or cat is not the same kind that attacks us.

Even if our dog would have been infected and his attacking mites jumped to us, or is this case my wife’s mother, they would have died in a few short days.

Where They Attack Us

Here is where the mites that cause it normally attack us.

  • Between our fingers or the inner portion of our elbows
  • Our armpits which can be very painful
  • On or near our breasts
  • Near or on the genital areas of men
  • Our rear or buttock area
  • Our knees and shoulder blades.

These very tiny mites, once we have been chosen as their host, start the attack by burrowing beneath our skin.

Once there, they will build a very small tunnel like structure, where they will than lay their eggs.

When these eggs hatch, the larvae will come back to the top layer of our skin and either stay there, spread to other areas of our skin, or “jump off” to find their own hosts.

It is for this reason that scabies in seniors can be so threatening, especially in nursing homes or in some care giving environments

Sharing any type of clothing, bedding, or close personal contact, places you at risk of being affected.

But here is the grossest part of this infestation; the itching is the result of the waste that these mites are depositing on our skin.

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As we all begin to age and our immune system begins to slow down, infections, or in this case, infestations, put us at a much larger risk then we were in our 20’s though 40’s age groups.

Here are the prime targets for scabies in seniors.

  • Anyone with any type of chronic illness
  • Immune compromised or weaken conditions
  • Anyone in the hospital
  • Older people in community living such as nursing homes.

As bad as this condition can be, there is another form of it that is even more dangerous and it is called the “crusted form.”

Crusted, also known as Norwegian scabies, starts out the same, but once it gets going, it can affect not only the areas mentioned earlier, it can also affect large parts of our body.

It also gets very a lot more crusty and scabbing, and if you are in the higher risk group, it can be a lot more difficult to treat if not caught in the early stages.

It is also considered, because it covers so much of the body, a lot more contagious.

The good news, however, is that other than the Norwegian form, this infestation is very easy to treat.

Prescription Medications for Scabies in the Elderly 

There are several prescription medications to treat it, but there are also some natural ways as well.

Here are the prescription medications for scabies in seniors.

  • Permethrin cream
  • Crotamiton
  • Ivermectin

Permethrin cream is the common treatment for all age groups, including ours, and it will kill these mites that are attacking you within hours.

Crotamiton, also for our age group, comes in a cream as well as a lotion, but it is not quite as good as Permethrin, at least with our experience.

Ivermectin is an oral medication, and in most cases will only be given in severe cases or if you have the Norwegian form of it.

The Natural Treatments

The natural treatments include the following.

  • Clove Oil
  • Neem Oil
  • Aloe Vera

Clove oil is considered by a lot of people with experience with this infestation, as the nature’s defense against these mites, as it is that effective.

You can get clove oil at a health food or homeopathy store and you simply mix 2 teaspoons of it with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, and rub it on the affected areas.

In these than 30 minutes every mite, larvae, as well as any eggs, will be dead. To be absolutely sure, simply repeat this process one more time in about 2 hours.

Neem oil is also very good, and with this oil it is recommend using a soft clean rag to apply it and repeat the process every 2-3 hours for one day.

Aloe Vera has no effect on the mites, but once you have used Clove of Neem oil, this powerful herbal remedy does wonders in healing, cooling down, and cleaning up the scabs.

Scabies in seniors can be very painful, but these treatments can ease the pain quickly.

References

http://www.medicinenet.com/scabies/article.htm


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