Norwegian Scabies

Norwegian scabies is a much more severe infection of typical scabies. In a normal scabies infection, the host will be carrying about a dozen mites: between ten and twelve is most common, although up to fifty can be present under normal circumstances. Norwegian scabies, on the other hand, involves the infestation of thousands or even millions of mites, resulting in large areas of the skin affected by rashes, irritation and crusting. This condition is extremely uncomfortable and usually results in the host being unable to sleep due to the uncontrollable itching.

The scabies mites infecting a person with regular scabies and those affecting a person with Norwegian scabies are identical. People who develop Norwegian scabies typically have a compromised immune system, due to other conditions, such as HIV or AIDS, cancers, or other conditions that weaken the immune system. The elderly population is also more likely to get Norwegian scabies, as well as people taking steroid medications. Those with down syndrome, with conditions of the brain or spinal cord and individuals with dementia are also more likely to get this much more severe form of scabies.

Norwegian scabies will result in scabies symptoms within ten to fourteen days of the infestation; if you’ve had a previous scabies infection, you’re likely to show symptoms within just a few days.  Norwegian scabies is distinguished most often by the presence of large areas of crusted and scaly skin. Norwegian scabies can be easily misdiagnosed as an adverse skin reaction to a medication or a severe contact allergy. The consequences of misdiagnosis can be severe, because the open sores and inflamed skin can become infected, resulting in staph infections or MRSA, which can lead to serious complications, including mental impairment.

Since scabies is a highly contagious infestation, all individuals who have been in contact with a person having a confirmed diagnosis should be tested and even treated preventatively, particularly if an individual has a compromised immune system. Individuals with compromised immune systems may develop Norwegian scabies even after coming in contact with someone with regular scabies, while people with sufficient immune systems may only contract regular scabies even after coming into contact with a person having Norwegian scabies. In other words, the scabies mites are easily spread from person to person, but the severity of the resulting infestation and infection depend on the strength of the host’s immune system.

It is not uncommon for a person infected with scabies to have already sensitive skin, for which typical topical treatments can be somewhat harsh. There are a number of holistic remedies available that are said to relieve the intense itching and inflammation common to scabies, including evening primrose oil and tea tree oil. Other natural treatments include manuka and turmeric, which some claim have the ability to kill the scabies mites in addition to providing symptomatic relief.

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