To get rid from scabies once and all, it becomes very important to understand, what scabies is all about and what are the precautions required to keep it at bay.
Scabies also known as the seven-year itch is a contagious skin infection usually caused by infestation of the skin by human itch mite Sarcoptes scabies. Usually spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies, the most common symptom of scabies is intense itching and pimple-like skin rash.
According to World Health Organization, there are more than 300 million cases of scabies worldwide each year. Divided into two scabies can be categorized as scabies and crusted scabies (Norwegian Scabies).
Norwegian or crusted scabies is a more severe and extremely contagious type of scabies. People with crusted scabies develop thick crust of skin that contains thousands of mites and eggs. Mostly found in people with weakened immune systems like elderly and frail, the mites are able to overpower the immune system and multiply at a quicker rate than they would on a healthy individual.
Not easy to be recognized, once a person is exposed to scabies, it can take four to six weeks before the symptoms start appearing. Mostly, caused by an allergic reaction generated by mite’s saliva, eggs or waste products, the reactions take time to appear. Most active at night, the symptoms of scabies include nightmarish itching and rashes. While crusted scabies is usually found in people with weakened immune systems, like elderly and in poor health.
Diagnosis is usually based upon the customary appearance and distribution of the rash and the presence of burrows. However, if clinically checked, doctors will often try to confirm the presence of scabies through visual diagnosis by removing a mite from a burrow. The samples are then examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of mites or eggs.
Prevention and Control
Prevented by avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or with items such as clothing or bedding used by the person. Treatment is usually recommended for members of the same household, especially for those with prolonged skin contact. All household members must be treated at the same time as the infested person. Bedding, clothing worn by the infested person must be machine-washed and dried using hot water and hot dryer or you can get them dry-cleaned. On the other hand person with crusted scabies must be treated rapidly and aggressively to avoid outbreaks. Room must be thoroughly dry cleaned and vacuumed after use. It is advisable not to use disinfection like pesticides sprays or fogs in patient’s room.
Intense itching can lead to skin sores, and these sores sometimes are infected with bacteria, which can lead to inflammation of the kidneys called post-strtococcal glomerulonephritis.
Always remember that treatment should be given to both the infested person and to the household members, especially to those who have prolonged skin contact with an infected person. Try to decontaminate the bedding, clothing and towels of the infested person by washing them in hot water or drying in hot dryer. Scabies mite does not survive for more than 2 to 3 days from human skin.
Medications used for treating scabies are generally called scabicides, as they kill mites and their eggs. Available only through doctor prescriptions, scabicides should be applied to all areas of the body from neck to feet and toes. While treating infants and young children’s, scabicides must be applied to entire head and neck as well as rest of the body.
Even after completing the treatment, itching continues for more than 2 to 4 weeks, it is important to get retreatment. Skin sores caused by itching can be treated with the help of antibiotic.