Scabies – a common skin condition that is prevalent throughout the world, especially in USA. Millions of people in America contracts scabies every year. Scabies is a highly contagious skin condition, which, if not treated on time can get worse causing intense complications or severe forms (such as Crusted scabies).
Scabies is also known as the 7-year itch. Scabies infestation is caused by tiny human mites Sarcoptes scabiei that live under the skin. These mites are species dependent and thus only transmit from human-to-human. Scabies mites are unable to survive off the human body for more than 48 hours. These mites also need human body for reproduction.
To help you know more about this skin condition, have a look at the below described facts about scabies. Check them out.
1. Scabies is a highly transmissible skin ailment caused by a parasite.
The scabies causing parasite is a mite that burrows under the skin. Sarcoptes scabiei (also known as the itch mite) is a parasitic arthropod that lives and reproduces under the skin of a living host. The mite is cosmopolitan, which means that it can be found everywhere in the world. Moreover, humans are not the only mammals that can get infected; other mammals, such as wild and domesticated dogs and cats, great apes, etc. are affected.
These mites reproduce under the host skin. The female mites lay 3-4 eggs per day. These eggs take 3-4 days to hatch. The female mite lay over 30 eggs and then dies at the end of the burrow. The eggs grow to adult mites in a few days and the same lifecycle is repeated.
2. Scabies is transmitted through personal contact
Scabies is transmitted through both direct and indirect sources. It is usually spread from person-to-person by prolonged physical contact such as holding hands of the scabies affected. It is also a form of STD’s that are transmitted, for sure, if one makes sexual contacts with the patient. For indirect transmission, using the personal belongings of the patient like apparels, towels, bed sheets, napkins, etc., can also spread the scabies mite if the items were recently used by the person who has scabies. Scabies are more easily transmitted in crowded situations or public places, such as nursing homes, day care, schools, etc., where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact. However, humans cannot catch scabies from their pets or other animals.
3. Rash is the most common symptom that is very itchy, especially at night
The burrowing of the mites under the skin causes red bumps or rashes. These rash can be anywhere on your body, but is most common on the hands, between the fingers, breasts, knees, wrists, armpits, genitals and waistline. These rashes look often like red bumps or tiny blisters forming a line. These rashes cause intense itching to the patient, which is more severe at nights. Scratching may cause skin to become infected with bacteria, causing further infections.
4. Scabies is treatable
Yes, scabies is treatable. If diagnosed well on time, it can be treated very easily. Topical creams or lotions are often recommended by the dermatologists or clinicians in order to treat the ailment. These creams are applies all over the body in order to kill the mites. Some topical solutions for scabies include 5% permethrin, Lindane, and crotamiton. Dr. Scabies is yet another popular recommendation of doctors to treat scabies these days.
It is better to follow your doctor’s instructions for cure. Itching may continue for up to 1 to 2 weeks after treatment which does not at all means that the treatment did not work well. Sometimes, you might need a second course of treatment.
Apparels and bed linens used in the 48 hours before treatment should be washed and dried on hot cycles. Vacuuming and general cleanliness are sufficient to avoid indirect transmission in the house.
5. Scabies can be prevented
- Make sure that the infested family member avoids making public appearances, like going to office or school, until he/or is treated properly.
- If any family member contracts scabies, other members should also use the topical medication on the advice of the doctor to avoid further spread.
- Do not share clothing, bedding, or other personal articles with an infested person.
- Clothing or other items like carpets, mattresses that cannot be laundered should be vacuumed and stored for several days to avoid reinfestation.
- Patients should not lose their confidence and take proper medication as it is truly treatable ailment.