What is Scabies and how it is treated?
Scabies is a common contagious skin condition caused by the human itch mite. Learn what is scabies, their symptoms, causes, treatment & remedies.
There are numerous types of skin infections that the human skin has to deal with. And with the increase of pollution and other related harmful chemicals consumed by us, there are more chances of humans to get infected by skin infections.
What is Scabies?
Scabies is not a skin infection but a skin infestation caused by a mite known as the Sarcoptes scabiei. Tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei set up shop in the outer layers of human skin. Untreated, these microscopic mites can live on your skin for months. They reproduce on the surface of your skin and then burrow into it and lay eggs. This causes an itchy, red rash to form on the skin.
When a person is infected with scabies for the first time, it can take four to six 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?
Scabies mites can live anywhere on the body, but some of their favorite spots include:
The most common site of infestation in adults and older children include:
- in between the fingers
- around fingernails
- inner parts of the wrists
- inner elbow
- soles of the feet
- the breasts, particularly the areas around the nipples
- male genitalia
- shoulder blades
Infants and young children experience infestation in other areas of the body, including the:
- palms of the hands
- soles of the feet
Who gets Scabies?
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
Treatment for scabies usually involves getting rid of the infestation with prescription ointments, creams, and lotions that can be applied directly to the skin. Oral medications are also available.
Some common medicines used to treat scabies include:
- 5 % permethrin cream
- 25 %benzyl benzoate lotion
- 10 % sulfur ointment
- 10 % crotamiton cream
- 1 % lindane lotion
Your dermatologist may prescribe:
- Antihistamine: To control the itch and help you sleep.
- Pramoxine lotion: To control the itch.
- Antibiotic: To wipe out an infection.
- Steroid cream: To ease the redness, swelling, and itch.
Is Scabies Contagious?
Scabies is contagious. It can be spread in the following ways:
- prolonged skin-to-skin contact
- intimate personal contact
- sharing clothing, bedding, or towels
Since scabies is mostly transmitted through direct physical contact, the infestation can easily be passed on to family members, friends, and sexual partners. The infestation may also spread quickly in:
- nursing homes
- rehab facilities
- sports locker rooms