What causes Scabies — Symptoms and treatment

Scabies

Overview

Scabies is a skin disease caused by the itchy mite, Sarcoptes scabei. It is a skin condition that causes red-coloured rashes and even bumps in your skin.  

If you happen to look at the pictures of Scabies, you will notice several red tracks and bumps on arms, fingers, back, etc. Although it is a commonly prevailing disease, it can be eliminated effectively with modern Scabies treatment.  

The common question many people ask is that “Is Scabies contagious?” The answer is a firm ‘yes!’ This infestation is highly contagious as it quickly spreads from person to person via physical contact. Usually, doctors treat the entire household or a group in close contact with Scabies-affected people.  

What causes Scabies, and what does it look like?  

Mites are small arachnids that infest on the skin, lay eggs and breed. They often burrow your skin and lay eggs into the tiny hollow spaces they dig in. This causes medium to severe rashes. 

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Their presence on your skin causes the itch, to which you would react by scratching it. It develops into rashes and can be agonising.  

How does Scabies spread?

Scabies, a contagious skin disease, spreads through direct physical contact. It is usually common in nursing homes, prisons and other similar places because the possibility of direct skin contact is more in such areas.  

However, it also spreads through:

  • Clothes
  • Furniture
  • Beds, bed sheets and pillows

What are the symptoms of Scabies? 

The common symptoms of Scabies include:

  • Severe itching
  • Rashes  

The common areas where Scabies affect are:

  • Between fingers
  • Along wrists
  • Armpits
  • Inner elbows
  • Around waist
  • Chest and back
  • Genital areas
  • Knees

The mites burrow the skin along its folds, predominantly the sweat bearing areas.  So, you may experience severe itching along with such areas. With modern Scabies treatment, these symptoms can be minimised and effectively treated.  

 Can scabies occur in babies? 

Scabies affects people of all age groups. However, babies are at more risk because of their low immunity. Since it spreads through skin contact, babies at nurseries and child care centers may get infected easily.  

However, the method of Scabies treatment and the drugs dose prescribed will vary from those of adults.  

Can Scabies kill you?

Scabies, in a general sense, is not a lethal disease. However, its side effects may become severe in some people in a high-risk group. Those who are at high risk are:

  • Old age people
  • Immuno-compromised persons (persons with low immunity)
  • Disabled people

The severe form of Scabies is called crusted Scabies. It is also known as Norwegian Scabies. The soaring infestation of mites causes your skin crust to become very thick.  

It makes you highly contagious and the side effects are severe with this type of Scabies. In such cases, it is recommended to visit your doctor without a delay to get effective Scabies treatment.  

What are the treatments available for Scabies? 

Scabies treatments usually aim to eliminate the infestation using ointments, lotions. Creams and oral medications are prescribed to all close contacts . Always use them after consulting your physician. Do not self treat. Always trim your nails and do not share linen and objects with others. Maintain hygeine.

To sum up 

Although Scabies is not a life-threatening disease, it can agonise the one with its itching effects also known as pruritis. In India, among the overcrowded population, where the population density is exorbitant in some places, the risk of Scabies is more.  

This disease is usually associated with poverty and overcrowding, however, it can also affect everyone. Leading a hygienic lifestyle and keeping a clean surrounding environment can help prevent this disease.

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