Scabies infestations are treated with scabicides -specialized prescription creams and lotions, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Applying topical cream to areas below the head destroys scabies mites or eggs in adults and older children; head application may be necessary for young children and infants.
Medications are typically left on the skin for at least eight hours after application, according to Mayo Clinic. Since the chemical content is safe for persons of all ages, 5 percent permethrin cream is commonly prescribed to scabies patients. Crotamiton may be used to treat infants; lindane is also an option for adults and children older than 2 years of age. In most cases, medications must be applied more than once daily for at least a few days, though itching may persist for several weeks. Physicians may suggest oral medication when topical drugs are ineffective or the patient has other medical conditions that may be adversely affected.
Scabies infestations often spread quickly; others in the same household as the infected person are also advised to undergo treatment, cautions the CDC. Infected individuals should also notify any sexual partners and other people they have had frequent skin-to-skin contact with to seek treatment. Linens, bedding and clothing can be decontaminated by washing and drying them in hot temperatures. Since scabies mites die when separated from human skin for more than three days, items not washable should be placed in an airtight container or kept away from the skin for a minimum of 72 hours.