Scabies is one of the most commonly found skin condition that is completely parasitic in nature. Scabies is contagious and the parasite can infect anyone who comes in contact with the infected person or his belongings. It can even spread from one parts of the body to other. Although, every part of the body is vulnerable to this type of parasite infestation, but gap between fingers, armpits, thigh etc. are most favorable for the growth of parasite.
Itching alone can’t confirm scabies infection, so you should also look for other symptoms, like appearance of red bumps, burrows, and dark lines that starts at some burrow and leads to other spots.
Before moving on to treatment, you must acquaint yourself with a brief overview of scabies and responsible parasite, its causes and symptoms.
A parasitic skin condition
A tiny mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, penetrates human skin, feed on it, lays eggs, and tunnel underneath skin. The scabies mite isn’t easily visible to naked human eye. A mite lays about 40-50 eggs in its lifespan. These eggs hatch within 3-4 days and grow into adult in 10-15 days.
Body’s immune system responds to these mites, their eggs, waste and saliva through an allergic reaction characterized by severe itching that intensify at night. Small red bumps with very thin lines between them appear. On an average about 12 mites infest the affected person.
It’s a contagious disease
Scabies parasite can hide in cloths or bedding of the infected person and survive for 2-3 days. Direct contact with the skin of the infected person or his belongings can spread the infection to family members or people in workplaces or communities. Scabies can’t jump or fly, so direct contact is the only way through which mites are transmitted to others.
How to treat scabies?
The mite once inside host’s skin, keep moving to other spots and lay eggs. These eggs soon hatch and count of mites also rises. This chain of can lead to prolonged, even lifelong presence of mites and itchiness. It can aggravate existing skin conditions as well.
A doctor would usually prescribe permethrin cream – an insecticide to terminate the mites and their eggs. Permethrin is the best known cure for scabies, but in case it’s not feasible to use it, doctor go for alternative called malathion liquid. Permethrin and malathion are usually available with pharmacists and can be obtained on prescription.
Strict Treatment Course
Scabies mite lives underneath first layer of the skin, and that makes it immune to usual insecticides that are applied only on outer surface of the skin. The mites are hard to kill and scabies can take months to completely disappear. Therefore, the patient must maintain a strict routine of reapplying prescribed insecticide. The procedural guidelines must never be ignored.
Apply insecticide using a brush
The insecticide must reach mites in order to terminate them. Applying insecticide with soft tools, hands, or cotton is not advisable. Rather, it should be applied with a hard brush that could scratch the skin and expose the mites and eggs to insecticide.
A scabies mite can lay over a dozen eggs in its lifespan and usually there are over 10 mites involved in an infestation. If these eggs are not terminated due to poor or insufficient application of insecticide, they’ll hatch and again start the cycle, resulting in reappearance of itching and rashes.
Wash all cloths and bedding
Infected person must ensure that after first course, all cloths and beddings must be disinfected as scabies mites can easily hid and survive for couple of days. Any person, who will come in contact with these cloths and beddings, has high chances of getting infested.