“Scabies is a very contagious skin condition that’s common around the world. Although the infections are uncomfortable, they usually can be treated easily.
Scabies isn’t like other skin conditions. Whereas most skin problems are caused by allergies, viruses or genetics, scabies infections come from mites. A microscopic mite called the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis) burrows into the upper layer of a person’s skin, where it lives and lays two to three eggs each day.Symptoms Though scabies has very few symptoms, it can be very uncomfortable.
The prominent symptoms of scabies are itching and little red bumps or blisters on the skin (on the fingers and webbing between the fingers and areas with skin folds), Kapoor said. “Itching is often severe and usually worse at night,” she said. In infants and young children, the bumps may form around the neck, scalp, face and palms, as well as on the soles of the feet.
If a person has had scabies before, the symptoms may develop within a few days. For people who haven’t had it previously, it may take as long as six weeks for symptoms to begin. However, anyone who is infected with scabies is contagious even if he or she does not have symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Diagnosis & Treatment;
Good timing and adequate communication are essential to the success of scabies treatment, Kapoor said. A medical professional may suspect scabies if the patient has one or more of the following symptoms: Widespread itching that is worse at night. Itchy eruptions with characteristic lesions and distribution. Other household members with similar symptoms. The doctor also may examine a sample of the patient’s skin under a microscope, to look for eggs or mites in the skin. When scabies has been diagnosed, treatment is simple. Kapoor said there are two main methods for treating it.
One way is to apply a cream containing an insecticide called permethrin. Patients massage it thoroughly into the skin from the neck to the soles of the feet, including areas under the fingernails and toenails, Kapoor said. The other method is to take an oral prescription medication called ivermectin, she added. A doctor may prescribe Lindane lotion or Crotamiton (Eurax) creams instead of permethrin, or he or she may recommend antihistamines because they can help control the itching. Itching often persists for one to two weeks even after successful treatment because the mites, mite feces and mite eggs have irritated the skin and it needs time to recover.”
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