Treating scabies with ice is an interesting one.
For a start, it hasn’t been researched all that much.
We do know that scabies are sensitive to both heat and humidity. However, the other side of the equation is a bit of a mystery. Can scabies die from being too cold?
Let’s take a look.
One study that did touch on the subject was this one by Arlian and Morgan in 2017.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Freezing might be an option to kill scabies mites in items such as stuffed and hard toys, small pillows, and bedding. Freezing female var. canis mites at -25 °C and 50% RH for 1.5 h resulted in 100% mortality. After 1 h of freezing, 23% of test mites survived but they did not initiate penetration when placed back on the host skin. It is not known how long these mites can survive at -15 °C to -17 °C, the temperature of a typical home freezer.”
So the good news is, scabies do die from the cold. If you freeze scabies mites for 1.5 hours at -25 °C, you should have a 100% mortality rate.
However, as noted in the study, most home freezers do not go that cold. Most freezers sit around -15 °C, which is more than cold enough to make a few ice cubes and keep your meat on ice.
What does this mean for scabies treatment?
First of all, using the cold is almost certainly not going to be an effective treatment for scabies on your body.
Because you will need to keep your entire body at -25 °C for 1.5 hours, and quite simply that is not possible for you to do without dying.
Secondly, just because you’re in cool temperatures, doesn’t mean that temperature will translate to your body. Your body is actually very effective at regulating your body temperature, so even when you’re in sub-zero temperatures, your body is able to keep you at the standard human range of around 37 °C
Even by using ice baths or cryotherapy to treat scabies, to get the temperature under your skin to -25 °C and keep it there is, quite simply, impossible.
That means for treating scabies, you’re likely to have much better results by using the standard treatments of permethrin and ivermectin, as well as proven natural treatments.
However, you can use ice to treat other objects, such as clothing, shoes, and other items. Since we know scabies mites die after being exposed to cold temperatures for a certain amount of time, here’s what you can do:
- First, check to make sure you freezer is able to reach temperatures of -25 °C.
- Put your clothes, shoes and any other small belongings into a plastic bag.
- Put them in the freezer for at least 1.5 hours.
After that, all scabies in those items should be dead.
Remember, similar approaches can also be used if you wish to treat scabies with heat instead.
Dealing with scabies?
If you are currently dealing with scabies, it’s important to give yourself the best chance of recovering as soon as possible.
Scabies spreads quickly and if you do not get it under control fast, it can become much harder to treat than it should be.
To begin your treatment, I highly recommend reading my guide on treating scabies. It covers all the treatments necessary, the reasons why you need to do them, and how to do it properly to ensure your recovery.
Wishing you back to full health soon!