Is Scabies a game-changer?
March 18, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

How effective is Scabies medication? And how contagious am I while being treated? Should I cancel travel or visits to friends until the full course is complete?

I was recently diagnosed with Scabies and I have taken the recommended course of medication. However, I am about to embark on a trip to see friends, and I will need to repeat the medication treatment in 7 days (to kill the newly hatched eggs - I am possibly contagious until the day after this second application), while on the trip. Should I cancel the whole trip to avoid the danger of infecting others, go on the trip but stay in hotels (I am supposed to be sleeping on couches) and avoid hugging, or just chance it and hope they don't contract anything? How contagious am I, and how culpable, and how forthcoming should I be? It may sound harsh, but canceling a trip and announcing to the world that I have Scabies, and that's why I canceled the trip, does not sound fun.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
Very effective. I used chromium and they were gone in less than a day. Nurse's orders were: put the cream all over your body below your face, then go to bed. In the morning, put all your clothes and sheets, whatever you slept in, in the wash and take a long, hot shower. That was all it took.
posted by parmanparman at 11:10 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cancel the trip. I'm sorry to say that you're SUPER contagious... unless you don't really like these friends, in which case, FREE HUGS FOR EVERYONE! I worked in an ER for a number of years and, after a scabies patient left, we had to use tons of chemicals on the room and we weren't allowed to use the room for 24-48 hours for fear of the little fuckers infecting someone else. You may also want to invest in new pillowcases/sheets and cover your couch with some kind of sheet or slip cover that you don't mind throwing away. It'll keep you from re-infecting yourself. Good luck, manwomanbearpigwhatever. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hope you get rid of them soon!
posted by Capt.DooDooFace at 11:14 AM on March 18, 2011 [4 favorites]

*Just re-read the question. I'm an idiot. If you've already completed the first course, you should be cool. I thought you were recently infected. *facepalm*
posted by Capt.DooDooFace at 11:16 AM on March 18, 2011

Can you bring your own bedding? You're probably fine, but a little thing like that would probably help.

If you were staying at my house, I would want to know. I wouldn't be judgy or anything, I would just like to be able to cover my own bases and help with whatever arrangements you needed to make.
posted by hermitosis at 11:25 AM on March 18, 2011

You're contagious until after the second application? Please cancel. Hoping that people don't catch your scabies is not a sufficient plan. You don't have to tell people specifically why you're canceling--just say it's because of illness.

If you came to stay at my house and didn't mention that you had scabies and were still contagious...I think most people would have a hard time with that.

It totally sucks, but if you're contagious until after the second application, now is the time to be a good friend.
posted by corey flood at 11:36 AM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have had scabies and it took four courses to get rid of them, for what it's worth. I would cancel any sleepovers until you're sure they're gone.
posted by treblemaker at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2011

From what I have heard about scabies, I wouldn't want you at my house right now. Or if I was a hotel owner, I wouldn't want you around either. Especially since not being at your own house makes it harder for you to deal with the bedding.

Just say you caught the flu and that's why you're canceling, perhaps?

Or if it's actually true about your no longer being contagious after the second day, don't leave for your trip UNTIL that day?
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:01 PM on March 18, 2011

Scabies needs two courses to be effectively eliminated. Full stop. Now, imagine what your friends are going to feel like if you infect them.
posted by Brent Parker at 2:25 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

It took two courses (that is, 4 total applications of the cream) for my case back in the day (thanks, ex-bf!). I feel very bad for you and your plans, but really, you don't want to spread it around. And hotels, almost worse because the housekeeping staff might catch it from dealing with your bedclothes. Imagine the vectors...Ugh. Sorry, anonymous. Scabies is awful.
posted by smirkette at 2:37 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

About 22 years ago, a friend of mine caught scabies from her boyfriend. He also infected his housemates, and they infected many of their friends. My friend infected me, and a bunch of our other friends. Being in our late teens/early 20's, there was lots of staying at each others houses after nights out, sharing of clothes, etc. At one point, we drew up a family tree of everyone we knew who had caught scabies, and every case lead back to Jason. Jason became known as "Scabies Jason". He is still referred to as "Scabies Jason". My friend broke up with him shortly after.

Having said that, in your place I would call and ask my doctor or a pharmacist their advice about how effective whatever the medication you're using is and make my decision based on that. Seriously, do you want to be known as "Scables Guy" for decades?
oh my god I hate those little fuckers
posted by goshling at 2:40 PM on March 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Be considerate. Stay home. Your friends will thank you for it. Literally. If you phone them up and say "I'm postponing my trip until I'm sure I don't have scabies." I can pretty much guarantee your friends will say "THANK YOU."

Consider which of these two phrases would be worse:

1. "I'm postponing my visit for another week because I got scabies, and I need a second round of treatment before I'm sure I won't give it to you."

2. "Oh, you got scabies right after I left your house? Um yeah... maybe I should have mentioned that before I spent the night..."
posted by ErikaB at 3:22 PM on March 18, 2011

I've had scabies twice, and regardless of whether or not you think you're in the clear, wait until you know you're in the clear. Meaning, they're no longer itching, you no longer see the tracks, and every piece of fabric in your house has gone through a few runs of a very hot wash and dry cycle.

Don't feel embarrassed about telling people you have scabies; they're nothing to be ashamed about. And if you choose to pass them around at hotels rather than at your friends' houses, I genuinely hope you come home with bedbugs as a karmic payback.
posted by cmonkey at 4:23 AM on March 19, 2011

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