Wait, Your Itchy Skin Can Be Due to Scabies!

Wait, Your Itchy Skin Can Be Due to Scabies!

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.

  • Overview
  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Living

What is scabies and how it is caused?

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.

Scabies – signs and symptoms

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:

  • Between the fingers
  • Inside of the wrists (skin folds)
  • Around the waistline, navel
  • Armpits , buttocks, and around the breasts
  • Soles of the feet and on the knees
  • Male genital area and shoulder blades

Diagnosis and treatment for scabies

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

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:

  • Skin to skin contact is typically the foremost cause of the spread of scabies. Therefore, get every member of the family treated for scabies even if not every one may show the signs.
  • Keep the affected person and all his used articles including bedding, clothes, etc. clean.
  • Clean all the surfaces thoroughly that have been in close contact with the affected person.
  • Vacuum clean the room and upholstery and restrict the spread.
  • Although not sexually transmitted, scabies can nonetheless spread from sexual encounters – especially from partners who are suffering from this condition. Therefore, watch out.
  • Crusted scabies is a very serious condition in which hundreds or thousands of mites may attack a person. This condition is mostly present in people with severely low immunity such as HIV patients, chemotherapy patients, malnourished people and people who cannot feel the itch due to ill health. Such people need special care to avoid getting this condition or spreading it.

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.

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