Scabies is a condition caused by mites. It causes the skin to itch and burn and can sometimes lead to a rash. It is very contagious and is easily transmitted from person to person via touch. It can also be passed along when an infected person touches a surface and leaves a mite or egg behind, which is picked up by another person. Scabies is treatable, and most people recover in just a few days. It can affect people of all ages and usually spreads quickly through communities.
Causes of Scabies
Scabies is caused by mites that bury deep into the skin. Once they are under a layer of skin, they lay eggs. The mites and their eggs can cause skin irritations and itchiness. When a person scratches, it can break the skin open even more, spread the eggs of the mite, and make the problem worse. Scabies can be transmitted easily from person to person or surface to person.
Symptoms of Scabies
The symptoms of scabies can be mild or severe. They can also mimic the symptoms of other diseases and skin disorders. Some of the most common symptoms of scabies include:
- Severe itching that gets worse at night
- Small blisters or bumps on the skin
- Redness in the itchy area
- Crusted patches on the skin
Diagnosis of Scabies
Doctors often diagnose scabies based on the symptoms and the appearance of the blisters. Scabies is usually present on the hands, genitals, waistline, chest, and armpits. Doctors may take a small scraping sample from a patch of dry skin to determine if there are eggs or mites present.
Treatment of Scabies
The scabies treatment is simple and works fairly quickly. It is focused on killing the mites and their eggs and also soothing the skin, so the redness, itchiness, and bumps go away. Topical creams that contain permethrin are almost always prescribed to sufferers. These medications have the ability to penetrate the layers of the skin to reach the mites and eggs.
Since scabies can live on many different surfaces, doctors will recommend that people remove bedding and wash all clothing in the home. If the mites are not removed from every surface or if every person in the home who is suffering from scabies is not treated, the mites could return to the body of the treated person. Linens must be washed in hot water and dried at high temperatures to kill the mites and eggs. Mattresses and furniture can be sprayed with special products that are designed to kill the mites, and hard surfaces can be sprayed with disinfectant spray to prevent the spread of the mites.
Prognosis of Scabies
Scabies is not a serious illness, although doctors usually take it very seriously. Scabies outbreaks are common in schools, hospitals, hotels, and entire communities. It is important for sufferers to get treatment and follow through with it to make sure all the mites are dead. Some people have to see multiple treatments to completely get rid of the mites. Once scabies has been treated successfully, the skin will start to heal and the patient will no longer be bothered by itching, pain, or scaly patches.