Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by mite. It attacks men, women and children and spreads by direct contact or sharing of clothes. The mites enter the skin and deposit eggs which on maturing produces itchy rash on the skin. Itching at night, rashes in fingers and sores on the skin are the symptoms of scabies. Usually the eggs will stay on the burrows of the skin for 20 days which is the incubation period.
Treatment for scabies can be obtained over the counter medicines. Creams which contain benzyl benzoate like is Permethrin is prescribed for this skin disease. The topical ointment should be applied on the infected part. Even when the other members of the family do not have symptoms, the cream should be applied, as a precautionary measure. Washing the under garments in hot water will prevent spreading. In severe cases, the doctor will ask you to take oral drugs for killing the mites inside the skin. These creams are very effective and should be rightly followed as prescribed by your doctor.
What Is Scabies?
Scabies is a type of itchy skin disease and is contagious easily spreading from one to the other. It is caused by Sarcopetes scabiei, a tiny mite and hence the name “scabies”. The mite actually lives on the skin laying millions of eggs and reproducing aggravating the condition of itching. Often the condition becomes worse at night causing intense itching. Scabies can spread easily by mere physical contact. However it can be treated with suitable medications like permithrine cream or lotion and with antihistamines. Strong medications would destroy the eggs of the mites but you may continue to have itching for few weeks.
Each year around 300 million fresh cases of scabies are reported in the world. Often it spreads by using the clothing or sharing bedding of infested person.
Scabies Symptoms :
Characteristic symptom of scabies infection is persistent itching of the skin which gets worse at night. It can cause tiny bumps on the skin showing thin burrowing tracks of the mite. These tracks can be seen on close observation in the folds of the skin as raised lines.
The following parts of the body get largely affected with itching :-
- In the armpits
- Between the fingers
- Inner elbow
- Inside of your wrists
- Around breasts
- Around the genitals
- On your buttocks and rectum
- On the soles of feet
- On your knees and shoulder blades
In infants intense itching may occur on the face, neck, palms and soles (of feet) and even on the scalp. The baby would cry due to persistent itching during night. Once the scabies mite enters your body it might take as long as 6 weeks for getting the first symptom. The symptoms would appear fast in those who have already had this infection. Due to repeated scratching, the skin develops red sores also.
In severe cases, it can cause thick crusts on the skin each of which contains hundreds of eggs. This condition is known as crusted scabies which is more contagious than normal scabies infection. Widespread crusts that are thick and grayish which crumbles easily by touching are the hallmark of crusted scabies. Crusted scabies appear on people with intense immunity disorders like HIV/AIDS and those who are using steroids for arthritis.
Scabies Causes :
Scabies is caused by tiny mite called Sarcopetes scabiei, which makes tiny burrows below your skin and lays eggs in it. These eggs get hatched making further eggs and reproducing mites in large scale. The body would trigger allergic response in response to the presence of mites and their eggs which is the cause for intense itching. Any type of physical contact with the infested person/child can spread the mites to your body. Sharing clothing and bedding can also spread the infection to others.
Pictures of Scabies :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Scabies
Mode Of Transmission :
Scabies infection can spread in the following ways primarily.
- By having intimate contact like sexual intercourse with affected person
- By making skin contact like holding hands or hugging closely with skin-to-skin contact.
- By sharing clothes or bed with the person infected with scabies.
Scabies infection spreads quickly to the entire family members and sex partners of infected person. It is highly contagious in nursing homes, day care centers, schools and even in sports team.
Your doctor would listen to the symptoms and examines your skin checking for specific lines or burrows made by mites. He would gently remove tiny skin area to be tested in the lab for the presence of mites.
Scabies Treatment :
The main goal of treating scabies is to completely destroy the mites and their eggs with medications. The given ointment or lotion should be applied all over the body from your face to soles of your feet leaving no space. The medication should be left on the body for 6-8 hours for killing the burrows and eggs completely. You will have to take a second course of medication if fresh burrows or rashes appear on the skin.
It is necessary to treat all the members of your family and even the close contacts even they do not show any symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe permethrin cream which is effective in killing the mites and eggs. You can apply this cream on the entire body at night and wash it only in the morning. Alternatively you can use lindane lotion if the above given cream is not tolerated by your body. However this cream is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers and children below 2 years.
Doctors may prescribe Eurax cream or Stromectol lotion also for treating scabies. Itching may not get controlled for several weeks even after you have completed the course of medication. You may use antihistamines like Benadryl for managing intense itching at night. For people with crusted scabies, antibiotic therapy is given in combination with steroid creams.
Scabies Home Remedies :
In addition of using drugs and creams given by your doctor, you can try some of these home remedies to manage itching.
- Soak your body in cool water for several minutes. You can apply wet compression on the skin in the affected areas to control itching.
- Use Calamine lotion to get relief from itching and scratching pain on the entire body and leave it for few hours before washing.
- The mites of scabies can live up to 72 hours before falling from your body. So it might take few days to get relief from complete itching.
- You should make sure to change the towels, bedding and clothing. Wash all the clothes in hot water and dry it in complete sunlight or use the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes.
- In case you cannot wash some clothes at home you can dry-clean them. Otherwise place all such items and clothing in a sealed bag and leave it in your backyard or garage for couple of weeks so that mites would starve and die.