Scabies is a skin condition that’s caused by tiny itch mites (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominids). Adult female mites start burrowing into the layers of your skin to lay eggs and due to this action, you feel extreme itching that worsens at night.
Directly: It is a highly contagious skin condition that can be spread from an infected person to uninfected individual via direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Although it doesn’t spread with a simple handshake, as only prolonged contact with the infested person can spread the mites to a non-infected person. It can easily spread to sexual partners, family members and others who work in close working environments as chances are that people come in close contact with the infected individual and catch the itch mites.
Indirectly: Scabies mites can survive without host body for up to 72 hours, hence, these can be spread to uninfected individuals if they come in contact with the things used by the infected person. For instance, sharing clothes, bed, towel, and furnishing of the infesting person can spread scabies.
Who are at risk?
Scabies can easily be spread in crowded public spaces where chances of close body and skin contact are common. Public places like nursing homes, childcare centers, hospitals, prisons, and extended-care facilities are common sites of pest outbreaks. Initially, a person infested with scabies is not aware of the skin condition and that time it’s easier to spread it to others who are in close contact with the affected person.
Who should be treated for scabies?
Affected person along with his/her sexual partner needs to be treated. Besides that, all family members living in the same house need to undergo the same treatment even if symptoms of scabies have not appeared on them. This is because scabies may not show instant symptoms in people who have not been affected before. So, it may take several weeks to see the symptoms. But you don’t want to take that risk, right? That’s why get all family members treated at the same time.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Close examination of skin rashes is done by a doctor. Your skin scrap is taken to observe under a microscope to check the presence of burrows, mites and eggs - which are not visible to a naked eye.
People who are diagnosed with scabies are usually treated with permethrin cream, which is to be applied to the skin at night and left overnight to kill the mites. This needs to be followed for seven days continuously, as it is the normal life cycle of scabies mites. Even family members and people in close contact with the infested person need to be treated at the same time - as they are at potential risk of carrying scabies mites. This is also done to avoid any chanced of re-infestation of scabies in the same family. In case, itching persists even after two to four weeks of the treatment, you need to go for re-treatment but only after consulting your doctor.
How soon after treatment will you feel better
You will see the result within one week, but itching still persists for up to two weeks. This happens due to body’s allergic skin reaction to dead remains of scabies mites. However, if you experience itching even after 2-4 weeks of the initial treatment, you need to see your doctor and you might need re-treatment. Do, follow the instructions given by your physician carefully to avoid failure of treatment for the second time.