Scabies is a highly contagious skin disease caused by the itch mite sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies is common in sheepfarming areas, where it is commonly transmitted from the wool of the sheep to the farm workers. It can also be picked up in changing rooms, and even from handling coins – it does not require close contact to pass from one person to another. The female mites lay their eggs under the skin, and as the newly hatched mites burrow their way out this causes severe irritation and itching -especially at night. Small red pimples may appear and scratching can lead to sores which can then become infected. Common areas to be affected are the groin, penis, nipples and the skin between the fingers. Wash the skin gently, then treat the affected area with a 5 per cent lavender non-oily cream or gel (see instructions pages) – repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
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As a matter of routine, add 8-10 drops of lavender to the bath water as a disinfectant measure.
During treatment, scrupulous attention to hygiene is essential. To prevent re-infection, change and wash pillowcases, towels, bedding, clothes (especially woollens), etc. using a few drops of lavender oil in the washing water – sponge the mattress down using a 10 per cent solution in alcohol.
Other oils of benefit: tea tree, peppermint.