What are Norwegian Scabies?
Norwegian scabies, also known as crusted scabies is a severe form of scabies. It is called Norwegian scabies because the condition was first described in Norway in the mid-19th century. If you are infected with Norwegian scabies the number of mites on the body increase dramatically.
With regular scabies, you may be infested with between 10 to 20 mites at a time whereas with Norwegian scabies thousands to millions will invade your body. The same mite, sarcoptes scabei that causes regular scabies, is also responsible for Norwegian scabies.
The symptoms and signs of Norwegian scabies include:
- Thickened crust on the skin
- Itchy skin
- Thick, deformed nails
What Causes Norwegian Scabies?
These mites burrow into warm, moist areas of the body and are easily transmitted from direct skin contact with a person who has scabies. Very often, sharing personal items such as clothing, towels, bed linen and hairbrushes may also contribute to the infestation of Norwegian scabies.
A rash develops that is crusted with flakes of skin that falls off affected areas of the body. The rash will develop into lesions and eventually, start looking like warts. The mites can be found in these flakes of skin and as a result this condition is highly contagious.
Common areas of the body that are affected include the scalp, palms, fingernails, elbows, knees, and soles of the feet. Norwegian scabies usually affect elderly people and those with compromised immune systemswho have HIV or have developed AIDS, or lymphoma. Very often, Norwegian scabies develops in congested areas such as hospitals and nursing facilities. With prompt treatment, Norwegian scabies can be controlled.
Diagnosing Norwegian Scabies
The diagnosis is based on the symptoms, a thorough physical examination and review of the individual’s medical history. Norwegian scabies may often resemble psoriasis. A skin scraping will be taken and then viewed under the microscope to determine the diagnosis.
Help for Norwegian Scabies
Norwegian scabies is treated with the same medications as scabies. A mite killer in the form of a topical cream such as permethrin (Elmite) which is applied from the neck downwards will be prescribed by your doctor. Another topical cream that may also be prescribed is lindane but only if other treatments fail to work. Lindane may bring about serious side effects such as seizures.
Oral medications and antihistamines may also be prescribed to treat Norwegian scabies and offer relief from itching. In addition, if one family member has been infected, the entire household has to be treated even if they have not been infected. Wash clothing, bed linen and towels in hot water and dry on a hot setting. Avoid sexual contact if you have been infected.
Homeopathic remedies have also proven to be highly effective treatments of all forms of scabies. These remedies are safe and gentle to use within the body, and does not cause harsh side effects like so many conventional medications. Homeopathic ingredients such as Psorinum, Staphisagria and Viola tri eliminate the scabies infestation and help to relieve itching.
More Information on Norwegian Scabies
Tips to prevent Norwegian scabies
There are several ways to prevent Norwegian scabies and these include:
- Avoid direct physical contact, particularly cuddling and sexual intercourse with people who have contracted scabies
- Practice good personal hygiene habits by washing your hands frequently before eating and after using the bathroom, take daily baths and showers and wear clean clothing
- Boost your immune system by eating healthily, drinking fresh, clean water and supplementing with vitamins
- If you or your child has been infected, notify all the people you have been in contact with, schools or day care facilities
- Do not share personal items such as towels, toothbrushes, hair brushes or clothing with members of your household
- Wash all towels, bedding and clothing in hot water and dry them on a hot cycle if your family has been infected with scabies
- Place items such as towels, bed linen or clothing in a sealed plastic bag for a few weeks to starve mites
- Vacuum all rugs and carpets and clean all surfaces with disinfectant