Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All You Need To Know About Scabies



While playing tennis last weekend, one of my partners whispered, "Hey you should blog about scabies. There is an epidemic going around." I don't know about a scabies epidemic, but catching scabies is common and it can crop up just about anywhere. People don't like to talk about parasite infections, so here is all you need to know.

Scabies are tiny borrowing skin mites with a scientific name of Sarcoptes scabiei. The little female mite burrows just beneath the skin and deposits eggs that mature in about 10 days. New mites hatch and spread to other areas of skin or other people. Symptoms appear 4-6 weeks after infection unless a person has had scabies before. Then the symptoms appear right away.

Scabies are contagious and spread through close physical contact in families, schools or nursing homes. The victim has severe itching, usually worse at night and sometimes you can see little burrow tracks or tiny blisters on the skin. The itching is not caused by the mite but is the body's allergic reaction to the mite. Any part of the body can be infected but they like to go toward the folds of skin...around the waist, wrists, between fingers, breasts, buttocks.

Scabies can be diagnosed by the physician looking under a microscope at small scrapings. Prescription topical creams and lotions eliminate the infestation but the itching can continue for several weeks. (Since it is an allergic reaction). Usually close family contacts are also treated even if they are not showing symptoms.

To prevent re-infestation all clothes and linen need to be washed and dried with high heat. The scabies mite can also be starved by putting items that can't be washed in a sealed plastic bag for a couple of weeks. Mites die if they are starved for a week. Fumigation of the living area is not needed.

Scabies can be dangerous and hard to treat in people that are immune suppressed. For others, the prescription lotions will kill the infection readily.

10 comments:

Kim said...

Hello
I did not have any idea about this skin problem of Scabies.People should know about this skin problem.Thank you very much for sharing all information about Scabies.

h1n1

Beastarzmom said...

spammers... hate 'em.
So next up - Lice. We have it going around the school and turns out treatment is not enough these days. Apparently, lice are becoming resistent to our typical treatments.

Lisa said...

uh oh...all of a sudden I feel very itchy.

kamagra said...

It is really interesting, I have never read about it but I like it a lot,In my opinion Prescription topical creams and lotions eliminate, is the best idea!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you are still checking these comments, but I was wondering... I have four kids who all rotate beds around.. one broke out in a rash on her face (cheek) and between her fingers. Pediatrician says scabies. Dermatologist says "most likely not" we treated for both scabies and poison ivy. The stuff between her fingers are going away but now (3 days after scabies treatment) she suddenly has little spots on her upper arm that is itchy and blistery. Is Scabies so contagious that if it were that the other kids would have it? I don't have any others with the problem.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Anonymous: I doubt that the new itchy area on her arm is scabies. Poison ivy/oak can certainly pop up in new places on the body. Do you have it in your area? The resin can be on bedspreads, shoelaces, the dog, backpacks, clothing and continue to cause new outbreaks. Scabies aren't blistery but poison oak is.

Anonymous said...

We have washed everything! We do have tons of poison ivy in the new park behind our neighborhood. The Apexicon E seems to help but its just difficult to see her always itchy... And it seems so random when it gets worse. My 6 yr old has had some kind of flu that has become pnuemonia.. So my daughter now has that sickness ontop of the itching!

Anonymous said...

Good lord, I know these posts are old but, did nobody think of Dermititis as a possibility??

Dan said...

We all should be aware that Scabies is a highly contagious disease. It spreads by personal contact and once a single member is infected, the whole family has may get it in no time. I appreciate this post and I wish more people read it. It is not something to be ashamed of and can happen to anybody. You might have the cleanest house but your child can still get Scabies hem from the school, nursery or camp. The important thing to do once Scabies is confirmed is to keep the house absolutely clean. Scabies mites cannot survive outside the host and die a natural death after 72 hours.

Dan said...

We all should be aware that Scabies is a highly contagious disease. It spreads by personal contact and once a single member is infected, the whole family has may get it in no time. I appreciate this post and I wish more people read it. It is not something to be ashamed of and can happen to anybody. You might have the cleanest house but your child can still get Scabies hem from the school, nursery or camp. The important thing to do once Scabies is confirmed is to keep the house absolutely clean. Scabies mites cannot survive outside the host and die a natural death after 72 hours.