What Is Scabies?

Sarcoptes scabiei or the itch mite is a parasitic mite (an arthropod) that burrows into the skin and causes scabies

Overview:

Scabies isn’t an illness or infection, but an infestation. Tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei set up shop in the outer layers of skin. The skin does not take kindly to the invasion.

Since the mites burrow and lay eggs within the epidermis, the infestation leads to persistent itching and an angry rash.

Symptoms:

When a person is infested with scabies for your first time, it can take four to six months for the skin to respond. The most common symptoms are:

  • A pimple-like rash
  • Sores caused by scratching
  • Scales or blisters
  • Intense itching

In its early stages, mites might be mistaken for other skin ailments since the rash appears similar.

This picture compares acne, mosquito bites, and scabies. What sets scabies apart is your persistent itching. Itching is usually most severe in children and the elderly.

Another hallmark of scabies is the appearance of track-like burrows in the skin. These raised lines are often grayish-white or skin-colored.

They are created when female mites tube just beneath the top layer of the skin. After developing a burrow, each female lays 10 to 25 eggs inside.

Where Can Scabies Mites Stay?

The mites can live anywhere on the body, but a few of their favorite areas include:

  • Between the fingers
  • The folds of the wrist, elbow, or knee
  • Around the waist and navel
  • On the genitals or breasts
  • The head, neck, face, palms, and soles in very young kids

Can Scabies Mites Be Seen?

Most folks with scabies only carry 10 to 15 mites at any given time, and each mite is significantly less than half of a millimeter long.

This makes them very difficult to see. To the eye, they may look like tiny black dots on the skin. A microscope can identify mites, eggs, or fecal matter from skin scraping.

How Can Scabies Spread?

Scabies-mites normally spread through prolonged, skin-to-skin contact that supplies the mites time to creep from one individual to another.

Shared personal items, such as bedding or towels, may occasionally be to blame. Scabies may be passed easily between household members or sexual partners.

It’s unlikely to spread through a quick handshake or hug. The mite can’t jump or fly, and it crawls really slowly.

Can You Get Scabies From a Pet?

Cats and dogs get Scabies-mites, too better-called mange. But, canine scabies and feline scabies aren’t a result of the same sort of mite that activates human scabies.

It is possible to get mites from handling an infested pet, however, these mites can’t reproduce in human skin. This means that they generally die off without causing serious symptoms.

Who Gets Scabies?

People at higher risk include:

  • Sexually active adults
  • People in institutional care
  • People living in crowded conditions
  • Prison inmates

Scabies at Daycare Centers and Nursing Homes:

Scabies outbreaks sometimes strike daycare centers. Young kids tend to play in ways that involve contact. They might also share naptime mats and blankets.

If mites are found in a child who attends daycare, it’s important to alert the staff.

The kid’s classmates and caregivers will probably need to get treated as well, even when symptoms have yet to arise.

Long-term maintenance facilities, including nursing homes and homes for the developmentally disabled, are also prone to mites outbreaks.

Because caregivers assist residents with dressing and bathing, skin-to-skin contact is not uncommon.

The CDC urges all new long-term care patients and staff to be screened for scabies.

Crusted Scabies:

Additionally known as Norwegian scabies, crusted scabies is a really serious infestation between tens of thousands of mites on a single person.

This results in the skin coming up with thick crusts filled with mites and eggs.

Crusted scabies is common in people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and people that are disabled.

This type of scabies is highly infectious and requires swift treatment to prevent outbreaks.

Complications:

The extreme itch of scabies makes it tough to resist scratching. Frequent scratching may cause open sores that are prone to infection.

This type of disease is usually treated with antibiotics.

Diagnosis:

Generally, a physician can identify scabies based on the appearance of the rash and your description of this itch.

Sometimes a skin scraping is used to confirm the diagnosis.

This involves gathering skin in the affected area and utilizing a microscope to check the sample for mites, eggs, or fecal matter.

Treatments with: Rx Creams

They will not go away on their own. It may only be treated with prescription medications that kill the mites. The remedy is a cream or cream that is applied to the entire body from the neck down in most cases.

Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe pills to treat scabies. The treatment takes up to 3 times, depending on the drug used.

Treatments with: Itch Relief

While meds can kill scabies mites and their eggs, they do not provide any instant itch relief. To control itching, especially at night, antihistamine pills can help.

Hydrocortisone cream may also help, but it can change the appearance of these mites rash, making the condition harder to diagnose.

It is best to use this lotion just after your doctor has verified the identification.

Who Has to Be Treated?

When someone is diagnosed with scabies, anyone who has close physical contact with the person should also be treated.

Close contact includes washing together, sleeping in the exact same bed, or even holding hands.

Doctors usually recommend treating all the members of their household, even if symptoms aren’t present.

(Remember, it can take four to six weeks for symptoms to appear.)

The mites can live around two to three days on the surface of clothing, bedding, or towels.

To make sure that these mites are killed, wash any sheets and clothing used by the affected person within the past three days.

Wash the items in hot water and then dry them in a hot dryer or take them to a dry-cleaner.

Items that can’t be washed ought to be placed in a sealed plastic bag for seven days.

How Soon Will Scabies Go Away?

The drugs may eliminate the mites and eggs quickly, and patients can usually return to school or work 24 hours after beginning treatment.

However, the itching may persist for a few weeks. This is the end result of an ongoing allergic reaction in the skin. If the itching continues for over four weeks or a new rash appears, see your physician.

It may be required to reapply for scabies medication.

Ask your friends and loved ones for support.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…

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