Permethrin Works, Helps and Hurts - my scabies story

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Reina

United States

#1 Jan 24, 2010
In a moment of narcissism I wanted to share my scabies story. Maybe it's not narcissism and it's just me trying to help anyone searching the internet for help with this. I was very lost, scared and confused when I had scabies. I'll try to include all of the keywords I searched for so other people won't take a week, like I did, to find this forum and all of its helpful answers and people. I'll also post links to my photos.

I woke up one morning to a row of welts behind my knee. It happened overnight. I immediately thought I had bedbugs because of the obvious linear nature of my bites and it occurring in bed over night.

This picture is from about 4 days after so they'd spread but it started out as that one line plus a small cluster which fused together: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

I treated my room as though I had bed bugs when I thought that's what I had. I searched high and low with absolutely no sign of bedbugs whatsoever. I sealed the mattress and all of my pillowcases. I washed my sheets and covers every single day. So I felt safe that my bed was nice and clean inside of its zippered wrap. I continued to wash everything (towel, washcloths, linens, etc.) every day. I sealed my throw pillows and comforter off in a garbage bag after washing them. I vacuumed every day as well.

Another pic: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...
And here is a detailed photo of the scabies bumps I had: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

They were bitten in lines with bites so close together that when they swelled, they swelled into one another. After almost a week I was frightened because it was getting worse. I tried using a steroid-cortizone foam on it thinking it was a simple bite. After 24 hours there was no difference. In fact it got worse. I tried Cortizone 10, Benedryl tablets, standard anti-itch creams and I even tried suffocating it with nail polish like ringworm. Nothing. I just kept getting worse. The itch was relentless. They were like sea lice in the way they felt alive and if one itched they would all itch.

It was also getting infected (probably because of the nail polish thing). My leg was swollen from the knee down and it hurt. Walking became difficult. I went to the ER and was told I had a bacterial skin infection, not an emergency. He also said I didn't have scabies because they were just behind my knee, not all over. I didn't doubt the skin infection part - but I knew I had scabies or some other kind of mite.

My primary physician wouldn't see me on an emergency visit since I was new. My insurance claimed to cover Urgent Care centers but even the ones listed in their provider books didn't accept it. So I shelled out $75 for urgent care and was diagnosed with scabies that night. I was prescribed Permethrin. I went home, took a shower and put it on afterward, went to sleep thinking I'd wake up all better.

I woke up unaffected. I read around about how long Perm takes to work so I decided I'd be patient. I found relief from the itching in a bottle of Listerine and a bag of cotton balls. If I stayed cool and dry and put some Listerine on them, I could almost sleep through the night. The day after I took Permethrin, I walked around my enormous school campus all morning and found that my welts had burst and oozed everywhere. There was a rash forming around the bitten areas though, too. It seemed they were spreading. I woke with 2 more bites on the other leg.

(continued)
Reina

United States

#2 Jan 24, 2010
I finally got to my primary physician's office and she was VERY worried about the infection. By this time the back of my leg was so purple it was almost black. It was also warm to the touch. She said the scabies were gone. I was placed on Bactrim 800/160. She also gave me an antibiotic ointment for the infected part only. I was also put on bed rest.

I came home and freaked out thinking I still had scabies and rubbed Perm all over again that night. I woke the next day even worse. I had a rash on the tops of my feet, behind my ears, on my belly, thighs, forearms, bicept area - all of the places I made SURE to rub the Perm lotion on. There were none on my back and none on my face though - the places I didn't rub it.

I went to my primary again and she said, "I think you have contact dermatitis." Duh. Why hadn't I thought of that?

The difference with this rash and the scabies was that the rash did not burst and ooze after the Perm. It was as itchy and awful as scabies though, with bumps too.

Here's the best pic I could get of it on my arm:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

Then I found this website and realized that the Permethrin was what the problem was. I had overused it in my itchy paranoia. I began to treat my skin as kindly as possible immediately. I discontinued the antibiotic ointment. And I took a nice oatmeal bath. I kept the area cool as best I could at all times. When I was warm, the itching was hell. I covered myself with Cetaphil lotion and it was very soothing at the time.

Now, I'm still healing. It's been almost 3 weeks since the first bumps appeared. Only in the really scabies affected areas do I have the worst damage. Here are pictures from yesterday.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

After the first application of Perm it caused my skin to be leathery, red and dry. Now it's becoming more supple, but it's still so dry that it's scaly. It's still itchy but I can see it getting better slowly every day. I use Palmer's cocoa butter on the worst parts. I use Neutrogena's Light Sesame Oil everywhere else. Some parts have entirely cleared up.

I hope that someone will stumble across this post and get the help or encouragement they need. This was the worst thing to ever happen to my body. I'm not unhygienic, live in a very clean home, and have no idea where I got scabies from. If this sounds like you - try to relax. Stop over treating yourself and be really good to your skin after Perm. Good luck!
Reina

United States

#3 Jan 24, 2010
I don't know why the original post didn't show but here it is again.

In a moment of narcissism I wanted to share my scabies story. Maybe it's not narcissism and it's just me trying to help anyone searching the internet for help with this. I was very lost, scared and confused when I had scabies. I'll try to include all of the keywords I searched for so other people won't take a week, like I did, to find this forum and all of its helpful answers and people. I'll also post links to my photos.

I woke up one morning to a row of welts behind my knee. It happened overnight. I immediately thought I had bedbugs because of the obvious linear nature of my bites and it occurring in bed over night.

This picture is from about 4 days after so they'd spread but it started out as that one line plus a small cluster which fused together: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

I treated my room as though I had bed bugs when I thought that's what I had. I searched high and low with absolutely no sign of bedbugs whatsoever. I sealed the mattress and all of my pillowcases. I washed my sheets and covers every single day. So I felt safe that my bed was nice and clean inside of its zippered wrap. I continued to wash everything (towel, washcloths, linens, etc.) every day. I sealed my throw pillows and comforter off in a garbage bag after washing them. I vacuumed every day as well.

Another pic: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...
And here is a detailed photo of the scabies bumps I had: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

They were bitten in lines with bites so close together that when they swelled, they swelled into one another. After almost a week I was frightened because it was getting worse. I tried using a steroid-cortizone foam on it thinking it was a simple bite. After 24 hours there was no difference. In fact it got worse. I tried Cortizone 10, Benedryl tablets, standard anti-itch creams and I even tried suffocating it with nail polish like ringworm. Nothing. I just kept getting worse. The itch was relentless. They were like sea lice in the way they felt alive and if one itched they would all itch.

It was also getting infected (probably because of the nail polish thing). My leg was swollen from the knee down and it hurt. Walking became difficult. I went to the ER and was told I had a bacterial skin infection, not an emergency. He also said I didn't have scabies because they were just behind my knee, not all over. I didn't doubt the skin infection part - but I knew I had scabies or some other kind of mite.

My primary physician wouldn't see me on an emergency visit since I was new. My insurance claimed to cover Urgent Care centers but even the ones listed in their provider books didn't accept it. So I shelled out $75 for urgent care and was diagnosed with scabies that night. I was prescribed Permethrin. I went home, took a shower and put it on afterward, went to sleep thinking I'd wake up all better.

I woke up unaffected. I read around about how long Perm takes to work so I decided I'd be patient. I found relief from the itching in a bottle of Listerine and a bag of cotton balls. If I stayed cool and dry and put some Listerine on them, I could almost sleep through the night. The day after I took Permethrin, I walked around my enormous school campus all morning and found that my welts had burst and oozed everywhere. There was a rash forming around the bitten areas though, too. It seemed they were spreading. I woke with 2 more bites on the other leg.
Reina

United States

#4 Jan 24, 2010
sorry for double-post.
PermedOutMaybe

Dawson, GA

#5 Jan 25, 2010
Reina, Thank you for your posts and pics! They're very helpful. I'm trying to stay calm as I continue to itch and get new spots. Having had the scabies at my eyes and in my hair (mostly along my neck line) was hard and I wonder if I was able to fully treat those areas so I especially worry about these post-spots.

My husband and two children aren't having post-tx spots so that makes it hard for me to accept also, since I had it the most to start with but we all did the same tx. Tonight will be the first night in 17 days that I haven't washed the sheets before sleeping on them. I'm nervous. But we'll see if things continue to get better or change for the worse. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for sharing!

Since: Aug 09

Location hidden

#6 Jan 25, 2010
Dear Reina, I think your posts are really excellent , beautifully laid out , highly informative and will be immensely helpful ,calming and reassuring to anyone who comes across them .

The very best of luck to you.
Reina

United States

#7 Jan 31, 2010
Just wanted to update my case here.

I'm about 3 weeks post Permethrin treatments (overdoser here). As I showed in my photos above, I started my post scabies right away.

I know a lot of people are very paranoid during this stage because post scabies feels like real scabies and sometimes even looks like it. I've made it a point to be calm during this even on the days when I want to jump out of a window. Mostly people want to know how to tell the difference so I'll do a quick run-down on the difference between having scabies and having post-scabies in my own case. I do not speak for anyone else and I welcome you to share your own stories here, even if they're contradictory.

First - how do I know I haven't been reinfected?
I won't be so smug as to say that I know that. I will tell you it's a gut feeling. It's a feeling I have to reevaluate on a daily basis. On the bad days that is very hard to determine.

My scabies bites (as you can see in the photos):

- were large clusters of small bumps in line with one another which would swell and connect together during the day and night, plus get longer and wider every day.

- itched in a way that just never seemed to feel relief by any scratching... so I didn't scratch.

- spread from behind my knee leaving dense clusters of very raised bumps. The type you could pop if there had been fluid under the surfaces. My scabies, for the most part, did not have fluid in them. Sometimes, here or there, one would if it were brand new and further away from the dense clusters.

- were deep red, some purple

- felt like things were alive and moving - get the image of a hive of honey bees - that busy disgusting insecty feeling.

I'm not sure if this is related but I lost a few pounds despite the fact that I was bedridden and consuming comfort foods non-stop. It could have been from the stress of it all, but I figured I'd state it here in case it applied to anyone else.

I'll continue my Post Scabies comparison list in my next post.
Reina

United States

#8 Jan 31, 2010
My Post Scabies and I believe a mixture of Post Treatment too:

- arrive in dense clusters of tiny bumps all at once

- are varying shades of pink (I'm quite pale so this may vary with different tones of skin)

- at times, look like I can pop them, but they don't burst

- are in swirly circular shaped patches

- randomly appear without warning on any given fleshy soft area of my skin. They have shown up (a little at a time, not all at once - some place different every day) on the backs of my arms, the insides of my arms and forearms, the concave areas near my ankles, on the back of the lower part of my thigh and the front of the upper part of that same thigh of the leg where the scabies originated, both calves but mostly that one leg, my lower belly, behind the ears, tops of my feet, my neck.

- They have very very rarely appeared on the fronts of my legs or my forearms. They have never appeared on my hands, under my feet, on my face, in my hair, armpits, buttocks, back or genitals.(pausing to thank God right now)

- One or two clusters show up at a time. Sometimes they die down the same day if I don't accidentally scratch them before I realize they're there. The longest they stay is three days.

- the ones on the back of the originally scabies infected thigh almost seem to never go away, but they are in fact different patches that form one right next to the other every single day, take 2-3 days to die down each. I scratch these and they swell to a very scabies looking size. They're together more densely than the others. I've scratched so hard through my jeans that I've left finger print bruises on my thigh (I'm a little on the anemic side too).

- they itch immediately from the moment I wake up and are most severe then AND after being warm and humid in my pants, inside of sleeves, or under the covers.

- They almost look like heat rash.

- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE FROM SCABIES FOR ME - They stop itching if I put Cortizone cream on them. I get relief from Benedryl. I NEVER got relief from scabies no matter what I took.

- If I scratch these, they stop itching after a little while. Scabies - never.

These are the differences I monitor every day as I shrink back to washing my sheets and towels every other day to every 2-3 days now. If at any point there is a change, I'll be at the doctor's office with a quickness.

I think the post-scabies welts are actually excretion of fecal matter, dead mites and eggs. They linger longer and itch with more intensity.

I think the post-treatment marks are lighter and disappear faster.

It feels SO good to exfoliate. So do that every 2-3 days and rub yourself down with Palmer's Cocoa Butter. I have taken a liquid steroid syrup Prednisolone or something like that - not prednisone though. Related. It was prescribed by my very attentive and caring doctor.

After reading the Biosilk posts I was like.."hmm maybe it's the silk in Biosilk." So after exfoliating to the point of burning and redness last night, I got out and put on the Smooth n' Shine Polishing Silk n' Sleek Straighten Polisher I use for straightening my hair. It's an older bottle and made with silk amino acids way up there on the ingredients list. I think they've changed their formula since. This DID NOT CURE ME! LOL I didn't experience any purging from the skin. I did wake up clear of all small bumps and old patches except behind the leg. Stick with Biosilk if you're looking to purge your skin. I'm going to give it a try soon myself. See if it works on the dead matter.

Best of luck to everyone still in the struggle.
walnut creek guy

Lafayette, CA

#9 Jan 31, 2010
Not sure if I had scabies in December, getting cured, right now going through the post-scabies thing. The other night, it started itching on my right hand on the other side of the palm, 2 inches below my middle finger. It appeared as a tiny little red-pinkish bump. The itch was so severe that I woke up around 3am in the morning and applied the neem oil over the bump, went to bed. When I woke up around 8am, the bump was gone as if it disappeared completely.

The problem with Scabies is that there is no excellent documentation on dealing with the illness.

There are 1000's of online materials and all of them just confuse an average guy like me.

My skin doctor thinks I have no scabies, but I got all its symptoms (based on whatever I've read so far online).

Sometimes I point my search to google.co.uk or google.com .au to see if there are research materials on scabies by British and Australian doctors.

Even I tried google.co.in (India) to see if Indian doctors got anything to tell us based on India's neem and turmeric treatments.

Your photos were excellent and they make me believe I had scabies too and I am going through the post-scabies thing.

Did anyone get bumps disappearing fast in a few hours?
Reina

United States

#10 Feb 1, 2010
walnut creek guy - I got that from time to time. Sometimes they'd show up and be gone later in the day.

Wanted to post another update. After that heavy exfoliation and slathering down with all manner of stuff, I was itch-free for more than 24 hours. It has been heavenly.

I'm trying to speed the process along by trying out the Biosilk theory of skin purging and it seems to have gotten some kind of junk out but really, there isn't much to see here. It's hardly even disgusting looking and stopped after about 40 minutes. I guess not having live scabies makes a difference. I'll continue to update this thread with my progress and the additional treatments I try.

My ongoing concern is the vicious scar left behind where the scabies were having a love fest on my calf and behind my knee (where the thick red lines are in my photos above) They're silvery and pink now, kind of like stretch marks. Once upon a time I had really nice looking legs.:(
Reina

Boca Raton, FL

#11 Feb 4, 2010
Just staying in touch here. I'm having one of those "bad days" where part of me seriously considers rubbing myself down with Permethrin.

After my previous exfoliation and period of inactivity, I seem to be cycling again and cropping up new patches of itchiness.

I'm presently monitoring a patch of welts on the front of my upper thigh and on the lower, back side of my other thigh. The ones on upper thigh worry me because of their linear nature, like scabies. They're also big and puffy after 1 full day on my leg. I took a picture today to see if it spreads or just remains and fades out like the other patches. It did respond to the Cortizone cream I put on it the day it arrived so I have reason to be calm about it.

I'm just really uncomfortable today. I wish I weren't at school and without a Benedryl. I didn't have to use that for a few days now and forgot how itchy post-scabies is. I'm just SO so tired of dealing with this. I want it to stop so I can feel like a human being again instead of a walking science experiment.
Reina

United States

#12 Feb 11, 2010
Howdy! So it's been exactly a week since my last post and I have good news. No new post-scabies crop-ups since that day! Yeah!

Here is the pic of the February 4th worrisome patch of welts, and now you'll be able to SEE why post-scabies is SO confusing.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

Notice the way they're kind of in a line? And look how puffy they got! I kept telling myself it was just post-scabies and didn't treat again with the Perm like I really wanted to.

Here is that same area today. Sorry the picture is so blurry. You can see that it has left behind the same long-term discoloration you'd find with scabies.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/cru5h/...

Well, I'm going to make a post with some side-by-side comparisons of the progress I've recorded. See you there!
Reina

United States

#13 Feb 11, 2010

Since: Feb 10

United States

#14 Feb 11, 2010
Reina, I thank you for your good information....
Please can you tell me if sometimes in the post
scabies if you thought you felt bites before
the pimples came up? This is a new experience for me and I am so confused?
MrFlorida

Mcleansboro, IL

#15 Feb 11, 2010
Reina wrote:
im going through the same thing as basically down to the T. I got infected around last sept. and i didn't know it was scabies till dec. I treated it alot with perm. 5 times all together and Iver. 2 times a week apart because i thought i still had it but i probably was just making my skin worse. i haven't been treated since Jan. 25. I get itchy some days but i also get itchy in places i never had them like under feet and between fingers. Sometimes there are spots but go away within 12-24 hours and sometimes no spots at itchy places. Also my cat scratched me and i noticed that it swelled up. I think my skin is super sensitive and every little irritation like scratching makes bumps appear but they disappear soon after.
MrFlorida

Mcleansboro, IL

#16 Feb 11, 2010
im going through the same thing as you*** basically down to the T
Reina

United States

#17 Feb 13, 2010
merry beth wrote:
Reina, I thank you for your good information....
Please can you tell me if sometimes in the post
scabies if you thought you felt bites before
the pimples came up? This is a new experience for me and I am so confused?
Yes, I did. I would be itchy in one place but see nothing. Then later, most of the time a faint bunch of bumps would crop up. I'm finding that my skin is just incurably dry now and it itches particularly in the place where my scabies was most concentrated. It itches soooooo much and no bumps crop up. The Permethrin seriously dries your skin out BAD. Take it easy, moisturize constantly with stuff that doesn't contain alcohol.
Reina

United States

#18 Feb 13, 2010
MrFlorida wrote:
<quoted text>
im going through the same thing as basically down to the T. I got infected around last sept. and i didn't know it was scabies till dec. I treated it alot with perm. 5 times all together and Iver. 2 times a week apart because i thought i still had it but i probably was just making my skin worse. i haven't been treated since Jan. 25. I get itchy some days but i also get itchy in places i never had them like under feet and between fingers. Sometimes there are spots but go away within 12-24 hours and sometimes no spots at itchy places. Also my cat scratched me and i noticed that it swelled up. I think my skin is super sensitive and every little irritation like scratching makes bumps appear but they disappear soon after.
Oh man, isn't it awful? I used to have the skin little old women would stop and ask if they could touch. And never any problems with it. Now it's like freshly washed clothing in the detergent I always use makes me itch. Cold weather makes me itch. Ugh! Well, stay on the up-and-up. Glad you got rid of the bugs.
About to lose it

Richmond, VA

#19 Mar 17, 2010
This morning I woke up at 5:30 AM itching like hell and started crying when I saw my arm. I've been struggling with scabies or post scabies symptoms since mid Jan. when there was an outbreak among my friends and a whole handful of them got it. When I found out I had them I only had one cluster of red dots (not bumps) on my inner thigh and some on my butt. I tried the washable marker ink test and sure enough I found 2 burrow marks. Nearly 2 months and 2.5 tubes of permethrin later (4 full body applications and numerous spot and area applications) I am at my worse point ever. Almost a week ago (Thurs) several tiny little pimple/blister like bumps started popping up on my forearm, and now its Wednesday morning and I am covered in literally thousands of bumps and they are about to drive me over the wall. I was going to go another application of the medicine last week, but then I saw this post and decided to wait it out, but now I just don't know what to do.

I just got a job where I can NOT have scabies. It would just be devastating. Also, my insurance doesn't start until April 1st, so I might just bite the bullet and go to a dermatologist early and pay in full, ugh! I just dont want this to spread to my hands, neck or face where it'll be visible at work.

The bumps are teeny tiny, and dont seem to be in clusters, they are just everywhere... it almost seems like its spreading though, which is really really scary.

Here are some things that give me reason to think that this is post treatment eczema or dermatitis (Seems like too many bumps to be post scabies debris)....
1. This looks nothing like the first rash I had when I found out I had scabies
2. I haven't found any burrow marks with a washable marker... I know this isn't a fool proof test.
3. All of my friends that had them... unless they aren't publicly talking about it... haven't been experiencing the crazy shit I have... maybe cause they just used permethrin once.
4. It seems like if this was scabies, these critters would be working awful fucking fast to go from a few bumps to thousands in a matter of days... don't they normally work in clusters, not just cover an entire area?!
5. None of my roommates or friends (the ones that hadnt had the scabies before) have caught them.

Some things that worry me:
1. The areas that I really really assaulted with the cream were my chest and stomach, and those are broken out now the least. I'm mostly breaking out on my arms and lower legs, where I put the least amount of permethrin
2. This rash ain't going away any time soon it seems. Its not one of those situations where a bump pops up and in 36 hours its gone.
3. This itching is the worse I've felt.

Any words of wisdom or encouragement? I really really need it.
nightmares do come true

United States

#20 Mar 17, 2010
Reina wrote:
<quoted text>
Oh man, isn't it awful? I used to have the skin little old women would stop and ask if they could touch. And never any problems with it. Now it's like freshly washed clothing in the detergent I always use makes me itch. Cold weather makes me itch. Ugh! Well, stay on the up-and-up. Glad you got rid of the bugs.
You can get virgin coconut oil in the healthfood section of most larger grocery stores (I get it at Fred Meyers). Applying the coconut oil after every shower or bath has really helped to heal my skin after overusing permethrin myself. If you ingest a couple tablespoons a day, the coconut oil also acts like flaxseed oil for digestion, and it promotes weight loss. My skin has healed so well from using just coconut oil on it, that I feel it warrants being added to this thread...otherwise I would have stayed quiet ;)

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