Scabies – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Scabies is one of the oldest skin infections known to humankind. It is also the most common skin infections in children. However, it can affect anyone regardless of age, race and economic status. According to world health organization (WHO), over 300 million cases of scabies are reported worldwide in different countries. Scabies infection is common in highly and densely populated areas where infection rate can be as high as 80%. Scabies is a highly contagious parasitic skin infection caused by an invisible parasite (mite), which burrows itself under your skin. This causes intense itching around the area the mite inhabits.

Once infected by the parasite, you may not experience any symptoms even after a month. Most symptoms do appear after six weeks of infection. However, you can get re-infected after treatment and show symptoms after one day. The most likely areas of your body that are bound to be affected by the parasite are your feet, your arms, your hands, elbows and the fingers.

Scabies symptoms can be very disturbing and a challenge to deal with. They include:

  • Itching

    – While itching is the most common scabies symptom, you are unlikely to experience it in old age. Itching increases at night with some warmth. The itching can be intense and seriously interfere with sleep.

  • Rashes

    – You are likely to have rashes on your skin on infection. Although you will observe the same as rashes, a close examination will reveal a clear pattern on their formation. You are bound to notice s-shaped tracks on your skin. The rashes are actually the trails of the parasite. You are likely to notice such rashes on your breasts, toes and fingers.

These are the two most common symptoms you are bound to experience once infected with scabies. You are bound to suffer more if your body’s immune system is weak or taking immunosuppressive drugs. You are bound to have scaly rashes, which ironically will be containing thousands of scabies parasites. This makes it take a very long time to obtain effective treatment. Most symptoms of scabies are thought to occur because of parasite proteins that enter the blood stream.

From the foregoing, it is apparent that scabies is caused by Sarcoptes acabiei parasite (mite) that enters your body through the skin and buries itself under your skin. If pregnant, the parasites deposits eggs, which hatch into larvae in less than 10 days. On hatching, the larvae develop and spread to other parts of the body and become adults. As they spread, they leave trails that you will notice as itchy rashes. Apart from coming into contact with an infected person (skin contact), you can contract scabies from other objects containing the parasites. Most people have actually contracted the disease from hotel bed sheets.

Scabies treatment is possible through various medications. For effective treatment however, it is always recommended for the whole household to be treated ton curb re-infection incidents. While antihistamines are effective in controlling itchiness, permethrin, ivermectin, benzyl benzoate and lindane medications are very effective in eradicating scabies. These medications are also available as topical applications, including sulfur, the longest scabies medication ever known.

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