Where Do Scabies Come From?
Scabies comes from human itch mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. The human itch mite called Sarcoptes scabiei can survive for as long as 1 to 2 months on a person. When off a person, these mites do not live for more than 48-72 hours. They get killed if exposed to a temperature of 50°C for 10 minutes. The skin infestation caused by the human itch mite is known as scabies. The tiny mites penetrate into the skin epidermis and lay their eggs there. Extreme itching and pimple-like skin rash are the most common symptoms of scabies. The scabies mite usually spreads through prolonged and direct physical contact with a scabies patient. Scabies normally spreads through direct and prolonged skin contact with a scabies patient. Scabies is often sexually acquired by adults. A scabies patient usually spreads this infection to their sexual partner or house hold members. Scabies sometimes spreads indirectly through sharing of articles like towels, clothing, or bedding used by an infected person. This disease affects people from all races and social classes, equally. Scabies infection can spread rapidly under crowded conditions where skin and close body contact is common. Institutions like extended-care facilities, nursing homes, child care facilities and prisons are places where scabies outbreaks mostly occur.
Where Does Scabies Start On The Body & What Are Its Symptoms?
Some of the symptoms seen commonly in individuals with scabies are severe itching seen mostly at night and a minute rash resembling a pimple which is itchy. The rashes accompanied by itching can be throughout the body or localized to areas like wrist, elbow, finger webbing, nipple, armpit, penis, belt-line, waist, and buttocks. The scabies rash can also include scales and tiny blisters. Scratching the rash can result in skin sores which at times can get infected by bacteria. Sometimes, tiny burrows form on the skin. These tiny crooked and raised skin colored or greyish-white lines are caused by the female scabies mite, which live beneath the skin’s surface. These burrows are few in number and difficult to spot. They are most often found in the webbing between the fingers, on the shoulder blades, breast or penis, or in the skin folds on the elbow, wrist, or knee, of adults and older children. Burrows are found on the face, head, neck, soles and palms, of infants and young children. The symptoms of scabies can last for at least 6 weeks in the initial phase, if the infested person has never had scabies before. It should be remembered that the infected person can also spread scabies during this time, even when symptoms have not shown up. In people who have had scabies earlier, the onset of symptoms normally is as quick as 4 days of exposure.
How is Scabies Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of scabies infestation is usually done on the basis of the appearance and distribution of the rash and burrows on the skin. This diagnosis can be confirmed by examining a skin scraping for mite eggs, mite fecal matter, or mites themselves. It is should; however, be remembered that a person can still be infested even if eggs, mites, or fecal matter are not found.
How is Scabies Treated?
Scabicides are prescription products which are used to treat scabies. Scabicides kill the scabies mites and eggs, effectively. Non-prescription products have still not been tested and approved for humans. For treating teenagers and adults, scabicide lotion or cream is applied throughout the body. When treating infants and young children with scabies, the cream or lotion is applied on their head and neck. The scabies medication should be allowed to stay on the body for the recommended time before it is rinsed off. Clean clothes should be worn post treatment. Along with the infested person, this treatment is also recommended for people who have had prolonged skin contact with the scabies patient. This implies that the patient’s family members and sexual partners should also undergo the scabies treatment along with them to prevent re-infestation. The scabies treatment would need to be repeated if the itching continues for longer than 2 to 4 weeks post treatment, or if new rash or burrows still keep appearing.
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