Scabies: Facts and Symptoms

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What is Scabies?

Scabies is not an infection but an infestation. The tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei set up shop in the outer layers of human skin. Skin does not take kindly to the invasion. While the mites burrow and lay eggs inside the skin the infestation leads to itching and an angry rash.

Facts about Scabies

  • Scabies is an itchy, very highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei.
  • Direct skin-to-skin contact are the mode of transmission.
  • The severe and relentless itch is the predominant symptom of scabies.
  • Sexual contact is the very common form of transmission among sexually active young people, and scabies has been considered by many to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Signs and symptoms of scabies include a skin rash composed of small red bumps and blisters and affects specific areas of the body. Other symptoms may include tiny red burrows on the skin and relentless itching. The itch will leads to frequent scratching which can predispose the skin to secondary infections.
  • The Treatment includes oral or topical scabicidal drugs.

Scabies Overview

  • Scabies is a very contagious skin condition caused by a small mite.
  • The mite lays eggs in human skin which hatch and will grow into adult mites. It means that symptoms of the condition can last for months or even years.
  • Scabies causes generalized itching and is sometimes called the “seven year itch.”
  • Skin lesions vary and may include short, linear, or nodular “burrows” between the fingers, tiny red bumps and blisters on the skin or widespread, crusted rash. Usually, there are no visible skin lesions.Scabies highly contagious, scabies, scabies treatment, Infestation by Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis, Infestation by Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis,Sarcoptic itch
  • The mite are spread from person to person by skin-to-skin contact.
  • The animals can harbor a similar mite, but when the animal mite is passed to people, it cannot reproduce and dies within a few days.
  • The scabies can affect anyone, but it is particularly common in congested areas, such as nursing homes and hospitals, where it can spread widely.
  • For people who have poor immune systems or who are malnourished, scabies can cause a syndrome called “crusted scabies” or “Norwegian scabies,” which is highly contagious and is associated with skin thickening and a scaly rash.

Scabies Symptoms

When a person is infested with scabies for the first time it can take 4 to 6 weeks for the skin to react.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Intense itching, especially at night
  • A pimple-like rash
  • Scales or blisters
  • Sores caused by scratching

Where Do Scabies Mites Live?

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Scabies mites can live anywhere on the body, some of their favorite spots include:

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

Can Scabies Mites Be Seen?

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Most people with scabies only carry 10 to 15 mites at any given time and each mite is less than half a millimeter long. It makes them very difficult to spot. They may look like tiny black dots on the skin. Microscope can identify mites, eggs or fecal matter from a skin scraping.

How Does it Spread?

Scabies typically spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact will gives the mites time to crawl from one person to another. Shared personal items like bedding’s or towels may occasionally be to blame. Scabies can be passed easily to family members or sexual partners. It will spread through a quick handshake or hug. Scabies mite can’t jump or fly and it crawls very very slowly.

Who Gets it?

Anyone can get scabies, but those at higher risk include:

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

Scabies Complications

The intense itch of scabies makes it difficult to resist scratching. Often scratching can create open sores that are prone to infection. The bacterial skin infections such as impetigo are one of the most common complication of scabies. The symptoms may include honey-colored, oozing blisters. This kind of infection is usually treated with antibiotics.

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