Scabies is a serious skin condition that can cause the skin to turn red and highly itchy. Blisters and bumps on the skin are usually the other signs that define the presence of the mite Sarcoptes Scabiei – an eight-legged mite. A person struggling with scabies may find it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything due to the constant itchiness on the skin, which has a tendency to aggravate at night. And, because this condition is highly contagious, one ought to take a lot of precaution to prevent its spread.
As most health practitioners would like to call it – scabies isn’t an infection; rather it is an infestation. This infestation is caused due to the attack of the mite Sarcoptes Scabiei that enters the human skin, wherein the female mite digs a burrow in which she lays eggs. With time, the eggs hatch and develop into full fledged mites and the cycle continues. The adult mites quickly surface from the burrows on to the top layer of the skin and thereby travel to other parts of the affected person’s body as well as to other people as well. Unless proper care is sought, these mites can easily infest an entire family and continue spreading outside a household too.
The eggs and waste trigger the itchiness as just a way for the body to react to the intruder.
Scabies can affect anybody irrespective of age or gender. It mostly affects people living in cramped conditions such as congested colonies and localities without proper cleanliness facilities. It can also quickly spread in nursing homes, hospitals, care homes, etc. as these places are generally called ‘dens of infections’ that provide the environment for mites to reproduce and grow.
Animals also get affected by scabies and have the potential to spread the infestation to humans; however, the chances of survival for such mites are less. Mites generally thrive better on their preferred hosts and when the conditions aren’t as per their liking, they die. Therefore, even if a human contracted it from an animal such as dogs, cats, etc. the chances of the skin condition deteriorating or causing further complications are less.
Besides the redness of the skin and excessive itchiness, scabies can also be identified due to the presence of blisters or bumps that indicate burrows underneath the skin. These signs are mostly found:
The mites that cause scabies are microscopic, meaning they are too tiny to be seen or recognized by the naked eye. Therefore, when you’ll visit your doctor to consult for the itchiness, he may physically evaluate your skin condition to find burrows and thereafter take skin samples to observe through a microscope. Bases these findings, he would then put you on medication.
On diagnosing a member with the presence of scabies, treatment is mostly administered on all the remaining members of the household as well. This is due to the nature of the infection to fast spread.
Topical ointments and skin lotions are generally prescribed along with oral medicines that may be given to boost the person’s immunity. Depending on your condition, you may also be given other oral medicines to get rid of the itching and get back the skin contour soon.
Living with scabies is not just tough for the affected person, but also for the entire family. Due to its contagious nature, it’s very important that special arrangements are made to restrict the spread within families especially with babies, pregnant women, and elderly members.
The effects of scabies usually subside in a few weeks following the onset of the treatment. However, chances of a relapse are high because the mites may attack again by being present in the body of a family member or on surfaces that are conducive for its survival. Cases where scabies remain present in the affected person for several months and years aren’t uncommon too.
Here’s what you can do to ensure it has left your household for good:
Scabies is a treatable skin condition. However, extreme caution is to be taken to ensure it doesn’t relapse or spread to other parts of the body or to other members in the family. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment is the key to beating this infestation out.