Scabies – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Scabies or known in medical terms with scabies is an infectious skin condition caused by infiltration of small mites into the outer skin layer.

This small Sarcoptes scabiei mite likes to nest in the layers of human skin. It digs tunnels and lays eggs in the skin so that sufferers can feel itching and redness on their skin.

This disease is easily transmitted either from human to human or from animal to human or vice versa. Contamination can occur directly through direct contact with patients or indirectly through clothes, sheets, towels, pillows, water, or combs that have been used by patients.

For that, you need to read complete information about scabies or scabies below, so you can plan appropriate treatment and avoid transmission if there are relatives or colleagues who have scabies.

Symptoms of Scabies

Usually, symptoms of redness and itching appear after 4-6 weeks after the patient is infected. The most common symptoms are:

  • Itching is more intense at night because mites are more active at night.
  • Reddish spots accompanied by crusting or blisters due to scratching that can occur on all parts of the body especially on the sidelines of fingers, abdomen, groin, neck and armpits

In the initial stages, scabies may be mistaken for other skin conditions because the rash looks similar to pimples or mosquito bites. Rash on scabies is often confused with other conditions that cause similar skin rashes such as atopic dermatitis, allergies and insect bites.

The exact diagnosis of scabies is usually made by the discovery of a tunnel-like burrow in the skin that is the hallmark of this disease. Tunnels can be winding lines that appear on thin skin areas such as the wrist.

This tunnel is created when female mites enter just below the surface of the skin. After making a hole, each female mite puts 10-25 eggs in it. However, often the shape of this tunnel is difficult to find because it scratches and blisters so that it obscures this typical tunnel picture.

Scabies mites can live anywhere on the body, but some of their favorite places include:

  • Finger between.
  • Folds of wrists, elbows, knees.
  • Around the waist and navel.
  • In the folds of the breast or genitals and groin.
  • In children it can affect the facial skin and head.

Causes of Scabies

Most people with scabies only carry 10-15 mites at a certain time, and each mite is less than half a millimeter in length. This makes them very difficult to be seen by the naked eye.

With the naked eye, mites may look like little black dots on the skin. A microscope can identify mites, eggs, or mite feces taken from skin cuttings.

How Does Scabies Spread?

Scabies usually spreads by skin-to-skin contact, giving time for mites to crawl from one person to another. Personal items that are shared, such as beds or towels, can sometimes also be a medium for spreading mites.

Scabies can spread easily in family members or sexual partners. However, scabies is not likely to spread through handshakes or hugs that are done quickly. Mites cannot jump or fly, and crawling is very slow.

To avoid transmission of scabies or scabies, one needs to pay attention to the items that are used. To kill scabies infestation in clothing or items that have been used by scabies sufferers, use the technique of washing dry cleaning or washing the item / clothing using hot water.

You can’t just kill scabies infestation by washing it with cold water and an ordinary iron. Dry your clothes in the hot sun to kill scabies lice after the clothes are washed with hot water. This technique can kill scabies lice that attach to clothes or objects that have the potential to transmit this itchy disease.

Can infected with scabies from pets?

Dogs and cats can also contract scurvy. However, dog and cat mange are not caused by the same type of mite as humans.

You could be exposed to mites from pets, but these mites cannot reproduce on human skin.

This means humans cannot get scabies from animals because animal mites usually die on human skin and do not cause serious symptoms.

The following are people at high risk of contracting scabies, including:

  • Sexually active adults.
  • Inmate
  • People who live in a dormitory.
  • People who live in crowded conditions.
  • People in child care facilities.

Complications of Scabies

The intense itching caused by scabies makes it difficult not to be scratched. Frequent scratching can actually make open sores that are vulnerable to infection. Bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo, are the most common complications of scabies.

If there is a secondary bacterial infection, a yellowish crust can be seen.

Some groups of people who are more at risk of developing these complications are elderly people living in nursing homes, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (for example, due to HIV, undergoing chemotherapy, or using steroid drugs).

Diagnosis of Scabies

In most cases, doctors can identify scabies based on the appearance of rashes and descriptions of itching (especially at night). Sometimes skin samples are used to confirm the diagnosis. The skin from the affected area is examined using a microscope to get samples of mites, eggs, or mite droppings.

Treatment of Scabies

The first treatment that must be done to treat scabies or scabies is with medication. Some creams and lotions apply by prescription. Apply the medication to the part of the body that has scabies and leave it for at least 8 hours.

  • Ointment

Scabies will not go away by itself but can only be cured with prescription drugs that kill mites. Treatment cream or ointment that is applied to the entire body from the neck down in many cases then the ointment is left for 8-14 hours and then washed. Basting is usually repeated again after 1 week.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a pill to treat scabies. Treatment takes up to three days, depending on the medicine used.

  • Itchy Medication

While prescribing to kill mites and eggs, doctors will prescribe itching medicines. To control itching, especially at night, antihistamine pills can help. Hydrocortisone creams can also help, but they can change the appearance of scabies, making the condition more difficult to diagnose. Steroid creams are better used after a scabies ointment has been given.

When a person is diagnosed with scabies, anyone who has close physical contact with that person must also be treated. Avoid contact including sleeping in the same bed or in contact with sufferers. Doctors usually recommend checking all family members who live at home, even if scabies symptoms have not yet appeared.

Prevention of Scabies

Scabies mites can live up to 2-3 days on the surface of clothing, blankets or towels. To ensure these mites die, wash every sheet of clothing, blanket, and towel used by the person affected in the last three days.

Wash these items in hot water and dry them with a hot dryer or dry them in a clean drying place. Cloth that has been washed clean, should be dried in the sun so that the mites really die.

Items that cannot be washed must be placed in a sealed plastic bag for seven days.

Scabies can kill mites and eggs quickly, and patients can usually return to school or work within 24 hours after starting treatment. However, itching can last for several weeks.

This is the result of an ongoing allergic reaction in the skin. If itching continues for more than four weeks or a new rash appears, see a doctor immediately. Maybe you need to apply for a prescription for scabies again.

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