Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Nov 29, 2007

What your doctor did not tell you about scabies

This is a typical scenario for a doctor’s appointment for your kid: because the doctor works regular hours, like everybody else, you have to take time off from work. Like 3-4 hours. Why? Because your appointment will never ever be as scheduled. The receptionist will schedule patients every 10 or 15 minutes, meaning that if somebody is in talkative mood it creates a ripple effect.
OK, now finally you are in the consultation room, with your already restless kid.
The doctor rushes in, lifts his shirt, takes a quick look and evaluates. The diagnosis follows: scabies. You feel like the whole hell broke loose. What?! My kid? Scabies in Canada?
Yes, yes, it’s not limited to some God-forgotten-land-before-time.
Next: prescription time. You get the pesticide permethrin and recommendation to wash/disinfect everything touched by your uber contagious kid.
And that’s it; you are rushed out of the room. See you, bye.
Desperate as you are, grab the kid, run to the pharmacy, fork in $50 and get the medication.
I forgot to mention that at this point if you are as stupid as I was, you go to the daycare and tell them that the kid got scabies. The result: he can’t stay there until after the treatment. So instead of 3-4 hours off, you end up with the whole day. And the following one.
After a week he is still scratching his torso, where the bumps are.
Now you are getting depressed and start searching the net.
And you find out that there are less invasive methods for dealing with these horrible mites.
Like sulphur ointment. 10% sulphur mixed in petroleum jelly.
Back to the doctor you have to plead your case for getting the prescription. Then you have to find the only pharmacy that is doing compounding. Finally you came back home happy, holding the precious stinky ointment. Full of enthusiasm you start rubbing it into your kid’s skin.

What the doctor forgot to mention? That you are not allowed to wash it for three days!!!!
So, about a week of treatment down the drain, because my kid took his regular bath every evening.
Only when I noticed that there was no improvement I restarted searching the net.
For the past three nights I applied the sulphur ointment by the book, only to see more bumps then before, spread now on the back as well.
Panic full blast.
I woke up this morning at 4 AM worried sick. Thanks to Wikipedia, this is what I found out, included in the same ‘What the doctor did not tell you’ category:

“Expect increased itching and red bumps for the first week after taking any medication for scabies. The dead mites remain in the skin for 30 days. They are removed with the body’s natural shedding process. During those 30 days expect new bumps and itching.”

Very important:
“Preventing Reinfection
All family and close contacts should be treated at the same time, even if asymptomatic. After treatment has been applied or taken, (or directly before treatment if you are careful and wear gloves) cleaning of environment should occur. A person can easily be reinfected with scabies.
Without a host, scabies mites can on average survive up to 48-72 hours away from human skin. As in cases of Crusted Scabies, they can survive much longer, up to 7 days. Therefore it is recommended, after treatment, to wash all material (such as clothes, bedding, and towels) that has been in contact with all infested persons in the last three days.
All household members should be treated at the same time and cleaning must be thorough and simultaneous. Either isolate long enough for the mites to die in a plastic bag for at least 1 week, or clean or freeze overnight.
· Vacuuming floors, carpets, and rugs.
· Disinfecting floor and bathroom surfaces by mopping (this only needs to be done after the first treatment).
· Daily washing of recently worn clothes, towels and bedding in hot water and drying in a hot dryer.
· Hot drying pillows for 30 minutes.
· Overnight freezing, in a plastic bag: stuffed animals, brushes, combs, shoes, coats, gloves, hats, robes, wetsuits, etc.
· Quarantine in a plastic bag for two weeks: things that cannot be washed, hot dried, frozen or drycleaned.
· Drycleaning: things that cannot be washed, hot dried or frozen or quarantined”

What have we not done so far?– Treat ourselved because none of us has any symptoms
– Althought I washed everything on sanitasion cycle, I hot dried only the bedding

Next steps:
– I ordered neem and oregano oil from the net; as soon as I get them I will prepare an ointment
– I ordered sulphur soap and we will start using it as soon as I get it
– If after one week there is no improvement on my son, I will get back to the pesticide option
– Use antihistaminics or anti pruric oils to ease the itching
– Think positive crap: one day all this ordeal is finished; take one day at the time; baby steps, etc.

Conclusions:– Educate yourself before going to the doctor
– Ask as many questions as you can come up with and don’t leave the doctor’s office until you have a clear understanding of the treatment and all the options
– Don’t bother buying sulphur from the net because you need a colloidal mill to mix it with petroleum jelly
– Calamine lotion works only so much on itching; the positive side is that it dries out the skin and mites hate that
– Investigate the naturistic approach because mites can and probably would reinfect, so it’s better to have something handy to act in a timely manner: sulphur soap, neem and oregano oil, propolis tincture.

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