Scabies is an itchy condition of the skin caused primarily by tiny mites that burrow under human skin causing small red spots that irritate. The mite called Sarcoptes scabiei burrows under the skin and it multiplies in numbers leading to intense itching. Itching is basically the strongest when infected person is in bed. Scabies is a communicable disease and it spreads through direct contact or through things touched by the infected person. It’s notable that the entire family can be prone to scabies if one family member is infected; therefore it’s important that the entire home is cleaned properly during and after the infected have recovered.
Scabies spreads more by direct contact and less by sharing bedding, clothing or other things in the house. But in most cases, if appropriate care is not taken, the whole family can get affected.
Some symptoms of scabies
- Intense itching
- Thin rashes and spots on the skin
- Abrasion on the skin from scratching
Infection and spreading of scabies
Right from the time one gets infected with scabies to the time they get rid of the infection, one most rely on a good treatment plan and focus largely on cleanliness. Generally it takes about three months to recover completely, during this course; one must have a separate set of clothing, bedding and have minimum access to things – remote control, computer, phone etc. that everyone in the house uses (this in precaution to avoid scabies from spreading to other members of the family).
Scabies can be largely prevented from spreading by minimizing skin-to-skin contact with infected person. Other way is to avoid contact with items such as bedding, clothing etc used by the infected person. Third and most important way is to keep the entire house properly vacuumed, cleaned and disinfected.
In addition to the infected person, scabies treatment is usually recommended to potentially exposed persons and all members of the same household, especially the ones that have had direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected person a couple of days before or after the infection was confirmed.
Owning to its contagious nature, scabies can be really dangerous. To prevent possible re-exposure and re-infection it is really important, to clean the house thoroughly.
Start with vacuum the entire house
Vacuuming carpets and furniture for removal of mites and eggs is really important. You don’t need to treat your furniture or rugs with insecticides, vacuuming cloth furniture, upholstery and rugs etc can have the same effect.
It is advised though to vacuum just about every item in the house for weeks (daily) after the scabies infection has been detected in any member of the house. Items such as carpets, furniture, chairs, couches, curtains, mattresses and even underneath the furniture items must be properly vacuumed. This is an easy way to remove mites and their eggs in case the infected person has come in contact with the item.
It’s important to discard the vacuum cleaner bag in the garbage bag, which should be removed from the house and dumped into an outdoor receptacle.
Cleaning the house
When it comes to cleaning up the house during scabies outbreak - clothing, bedding, etc. should be cleaned in very hot water. All bedding and clothing used anytime during the 3 days before acquiring infection should be machine washed and dried in a hot dryer. High temperature can kill mites and eggs. Things that cannot be washed should be dry-cleaned.
It’s important to note that in addition to cleaning of the house and treatment of the humans in the house, your pet friends should also be simultaneous treated for scabies.