The appearance of red spots on the skin can point towards an allergy or infection. In most cases, the red, itchy spots on the skin are rashes which can have blisters or welts too. Normally rashes are caused by scratchy clothes, excessive exposure to hot and humid weather or the presence of irritants on the skin, which do not indicate an underlying disease. These are generally treated with common home remedies.
On the other hand, scabies is caused by the mite known as Sarcoptesscabiei, as the female burrows down into the first layer of skin to move around and lay eggs in a warm spot. Just like rashes, scabies is also accompanied by red itchy skin.
How to determine whether one has a normal rash or a much worse condition known as scabies?
Well, at first, one experiences an itch which can be irritating and the urge to scratch is irresistible. If the itch is accompanied by red spots in different parts of the skin, it can be a rash. To cure a rash one needs to stop scratching the infected area and also administer over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or apply calamine lotion.
Even then, if the rashes are persistent and there are some additional symptoms, it could be scabies. These very symptoms differentiate between rashes and scabies. Let’s have a look at some of the most common signals that will help determine a rash from a scabies infection.
People having scabies infestation experience intense itching, especially during the nighttime. The pimple like rashes of scabies infection are apparent in areas like wrist, elbows, genitals, under the breasts, waistline, webbing between fingers and buttocks. Children can have scabies infestation in the head, face, neck, soles of feet and palms too.
The tell-tale sign of scabies infection are the tiny raised, grayish-white thread-like lines running from the rashes. This indicates the movement of scabies mite to lay eggs underneath the skin.
A physical checkup by the doctor determines whether there is scabies infestation in the skin. It can be done by scraping the skin’s top layer or by pulling the scabies mite from its burrow with a thin needle. Examining the skin scraps under the microscope to identify mites, their eggs and fecal matter is also done to make sure it is a scabies infection.
Other than these common symptoms, there can be sores caused by scratching, blisters and scales too.
Treatment for scabies
There are a host of topical creams/lotions and oral medicines which eliminate the mite from the skin. Typically, applying over-the-counter creams/lotions like Permethrin cream, Lindane lotion or in some cases having Ivermectin oral medication is advised.
The topical medication should be applied to all the affected areas of the body and then left for at least 8 to 10 hours. A reapplication can be administered if the infection persists. Oral medication is administered in case the patient has altered immune system or to ones who don’t respond to the topical applications.
One can bathe in water infused with a few drops oftea-tree oil, neem, Aloe Vera or clove oil as all of them have antibacterial properties. Lemongrass, lavender, peppermint and nutmeg also benefit in treating the infection, so they can be added to the bathing water to get some relief from the intense itch.
Other than this, the patient should maintain good hygiene by washing the clothes and bedding in hot water to eliminate the mites.