The Dreaded Seven Year Itch
Now before you all get your knickers in a knot, let me explain. The 'seven year itch' did not always mean what it commonly means today. The phrase was originally coined over a century ago in England in reference to a skin condition called scabies. Mites. That's right, I have itty bitty BUGS under my skin!! Ewww ....!
The term 'seven year itch' came about because physicians at the time didn't know what caused it but knew that it tended to last for up to seven years. Having lived with it now for just about ten days, I'm SO sympathetic to those poor people who had it back then!!
I've only had head lice once in my life, thanks to my sweet little niece who was a preschooler herself at the time. Daycares are wonderful, aren't they? The things those kids bring home!! I took care of my niece's little head, never suspecting I was picking up her problem. My hair is long and thick and I think those little lice just thought they'd died and gone to heaven!! When I realized I had lice and bought the stuff to take care of it for myself, I had to buy two kits ...yup, that much hair. But oh it was worth it. Itch does not begin to describe the sensation when those little critters start moving around. I would have bought ten kits if that was what it took to be rid of them!
I had some insect bites on my ankles about a month ago that just about drove me crazy before they healed. Well, maybe that was mostly my fault because I could not refrain from scratching them when they itched. When they started looking like they were infected, Yeoldfurt made me soak them in Epsom salts and put antibiotic cream and band aids on them. A couple of treatments and they healed right up. But about two weeks ago, I noticed my back was itchy. And the backs of my arms. It has slowly gotten worse to the point I itch just about everywhere except my face. I went to the clinic today and the doc took one look at me and said Scabies. Yikes!! He said they are present everywhere outdoors but need an open wound or prolonged skin to skin contact to gain a foothold. I think they gained more than a foothold with me! He said they probably started with those insect bites on my ankles several weeks ago. I picked up some mites when the wounds were open and uncovered, then scratched because the mites made them itch ...then scratched somewhere else ...sigh.
There's a social stigma attached to things like head lice and scabies. I know I'm not thrilled to announce that's what I'm dealing with. But I think the stigma makes the problem worse so I'm going to 'fess up and share what I've learned. I would have gone to the clinic and gotten treatment a week ago if I even suspected mites. Shoot, we've been having 105 degree temperatures ...I just figured heat rash. I chastised myself for being a pansy and determined to just suck it up and deal with it until the weather cooled off. Wrong...
The good news is, it's very treatable ...just like head lice. Step one, recognize the problem. Step two, be meticulous in following the directions for treatment. Relief is the reward and it's almost immediate. The doc gave me a prescription cream and told me to shower, then cream myself from the chin down and leave it on for eight hours ...then shower it off. He said that would take care of the critters with one treatment. He also gave me a seven day pack of Prednisone for the itch ...oh thank you, thank you! I can't start that regimen until tomorrow, but even just the shower and cream has helped.
Supposedly, these little varmints can't live more than an hour or so on bedding or clothing ...but as an extra precaution, I picked up a new set of sheets this afternoon and remade the bed. I've washed the old sheets and all the rugs and towels in hot water with a long soak and lots of bleach too. While the washer and dryer were working overtime, I was vacuuming all the rooms. I just vacuumed on Tuesday, but it seemed like the right thing to do. Doctors can tell me all day long that the critters are gone and all that is not necessary ...but I couldn't have closed my eyes tonight if I hadn't done all that. It's a Venus thing.