Thursday, December 9

Scabies has outlived the crown. It is going to be expensive.

  • Simon Ertzeid
Should a venereal disease be called scabies? No. Should one be ashamed? No. Should one prepare financially? Absolutely, writes Dr. Simon Ertzeid.

Forget the electric bills, this fall it’s the scabies meds that are stealing the budget.

This is a discussion post. Opinions in the text are the responsibility of the writer.

There was great hope that the crown could end the pesky scabies outbreaks that Norway has occasionally been the scene of in recent years.

On drastic decrease in human contact and casual sex In theory, it should fight a disease that is primarily contagious when people are around each other. Unfortunately this did not happen.

As a doctor in Sex and society I did not see a single patient with scabies from March 2020 until the week after reopening. Then I had three scabies consultations in two days.

Scabies has survived the pandemic and is living at its best. It is going to be expensive.

Troubled and embarrassing

Since the Russian era of 2014, I have been scratching myself every time I hear the word scabies. It is not without reason. The itching is often so intense that it stings blood. The night dream becomes a pure illusion. You may have visible sores and blisters on large parts of your body.

Even with proper treatment, symptoms can persist for several weeks. If you add a touch of shame on top, you have a house full of unwanted disease characteristics.

But the troubled picture of the illness and the guilt that accompanies it are not the main cause of my frustration. That is the treatment strategy.

Comprehensive treatment

The first recommended option is available without a prescription at the pharmacy.

For this to work, the nails must be trimmed and cleaned. All textiles that have been touched in the last week should be washed at 60 degrees. Couches and beds should be vacuumed, cell phone covers removed and sprayed, and shoes unpacked for seven days. All this before the whole body is lubricated with cream.

Whole body means the whole body, including the belly button, rectal opening, and under the nails. If you wash your hands in the next 12 hours, you will need to re-lubricate them.

The scabies mite lives, multiplies, and dies on the skin.

The entire procedure must be repeated a week later. The home, sexual partners, and everyone who has had 15 minutes of skin contact in the past month should receive treatment.

If a scabies mite escapes, the symptoms continue.

Eats the student budget

At the time of writing, a tube costs SEK 319. An adult body often needs three tubes per. application. Therefore, you end up with a bill closer to 2000 crowns. Per person.

There are tablet treatments that, in most cases, clear the infection completely, but then the doctor must request individual support for the waiver of approval. To achieve this, you must apply the cream twice, disinfect what is to be disinfected, and have detectable scabies four weeks after the end of treatment. Therefore, the price is 2000 crowns, and the itch persists for at least a month before expenses are covered.

A cohort of full-time students on a tight budget can let student life recede in favor of expensive scabies medications.

Set the price

The National Institute of Public Health estimates that 15 minutes of skin contact can lead to an infection. But even a good, unfortunate hug can be enough. You don’t have to have sex or a lack of hygiene to get infected.

Should it be called venereal disease? No. Should one be ashamed? No. Should one prepare financially? Absolutely.

Society opens up again to unlimited bodily contact. One-night stands and good hugs are back on the agenda. Now, the public health service must make sure scabies drugs don’t wipe out the bulk of student budgets this fall.

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