The first line of treatment is to apply a strong (prescription-only) steroid cream or ointment such as fluticasone (Cutivate lotion) several times a day. For severe cases an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone or prednisolone (Pediapred, Orapred, Flo-Pred) may be necessary to control itching. Oral antihistamines tend to be less effective but they can be useful in helping to get a good nights sleep. In particular antidiphenhydramine (Benadryl, Diphenhist, Allerdryl) has a soothing sedative effect and is also effective in treating pruritus (itching) resulting from histamines released during inflammatory reactions.
How Long Does It Take To Go?
Unfortunately delivery does not usually cure the problem overnight - on average it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the rash to clear up (the recovery period is independent of delivery, in other words, delivery doesn't appear to affect the duration of the disease). You will need to continue treatment until it resolves. If you need to take medications into the postpartum period, talk to your doctor about potential adverse effects with breastfeeding.
Self Help Remedies
In addition to steroids, other things you can do to relieve itching include:
• Avoid hot showers and baths, instead take cool baths. Add an oatmeal bath preparation to your baths to soothe your skin (available in most drugstores).
• Put cool, wet compresses on itchy areas.
• Wear light cotton clothing.
• Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day as this can intensify itching.
This terrible thing started when my adult son moved in with his two terriers several weeks before the rash outbreak. I happen to have thyroid disease and diabetes, and both of these conditions cause severe rashes on the shins (my rash has only been on my shins). However, I’ve had these diseases for years and never had a rash. I saw a doctor in December 2014 who said she thought the rash was from scabies. She also told me that I could NOT get scabies from dogs–even though this horrible plague happened just weeks after the dogs moved in. She also told me that my husband would probably get them, but he never did, and also she said they would probably spread to other parts of my body, and that did not happen either. I found out recently that this doctor could have taken a skin scraping for a lab to check for the mites and/or mite eggs under a microscope, which would have shown whether or not my condition was actually scabies, but she didn’t think of it. I read about this on the internet. Another doctor that I saw in January 2015 said she had no idea what it was. Awesome. My next steps are to find a dermatologist who will take a skin scraping to send to a lab so I can get a real diagnosis. If it is actually scabies, then I will fumigate my house and wash everything in hot water and use a hot drier.