All red bumps on the skin may not be the symptom of scabies. But if accompanied by extreme itching that doesn’t seem to go away, chances are you may be infested with scabies. This skin infestation is usually caused by the tiny itch mites called Sarcoptes scabiei that live on host’s skin. These mites gradually start burrowing into the skin to lay eggs and hatch - and the skin’s response to their life cycle results in itching. Intense itching is the very first sign of scabies.
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What are the symptoms of scabies?
In the early stages of scabies, you may confuse it with some other skin ailment like mosquito bites, or acne, as the rashes are quite similar. But, the relentless itching sets scabies part from other skin conditions. Generally, it affects body parts like hands, skin folds of wrists, elbows, and armpits, sides of the fingers, etc.
Scabies is highly contagious and transmits from infested person to non-affected individual through direct skin-to-skin contact. Although scabies mites need host body for a living, these mites can even live without a host body for 24-36 hours under. Transmission of the mites involves prolonged person-to-person contact. But it is hard to catch scabies just by shaking hands or hanging your coat next to someone who has it. Sexual partner of the infested person, however, can transmit the disease. In fact, sexual contact is one of the most common ways to transmit scabies, therefore, many even consider it to be sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, close friends and co-workers who work under close working environment are also at the risk of transmitting scabies, as chances of prolonged personal contact, which is necessary for transmission of these mites.
Scabies is diagnosed by scraping off the skin sideways with the help of a blade over the area of a burrow. This skin scrape is then observed under a microscope to detect the presence of these itch mites. This process, however, can be difficult as the burrows are quite difficult to identify and it may even take 15 scrapings of the skin for examination to reveal one or two mites or eggs. But if physical characteristics of scabies are present, then there’s no need to performing skin scrapping method. If the characteristic physical findings are present, scabies can often be treated without performing the skin scrapings necessary to identify the mites. Even polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is a good method to identify the genetic material of scabies mites, in case, the diagnosis is difficult. Once the scabies presence is identified, you need to follow the recommended medicament and instructions for treatment.
What types of healthcare professionals treat scabies?
Scabies is usually treated by primary-care doctors, including pediatricians, family medicine doctors, and internal medicine specialists. You may even get the treatment done by an expert dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist. Sometimes, this skin condition is even treated by an emergency-medicine doctor if the patient looks for care in the emergency department.
Curing scabies is a parasitic infestation, so antibiotics used to treat other bacterial infections are not effective for this skin condition. Usually, the following medicament is preferred.
You need to apply itch mite-killer like permethrin (Elimite). This cream needs to be applied from the neck down areas of your body and left overnight, then washed off in the morning. This treatment procedure needs to be followed for seven days. However, this cream does contain a harsh insecticide to kill scabies mites.
Dr. Scabies cream is are a homeopathic and natural way to treat scabies without the need to apply any harsh chemical on your skin. You can apply it as directed by the physician or as mentioned in its instruction manual that comes with the pack.