Scabies is a common skin infection that causes
small itchy bumps and blisters due to tiny mites, sarcoptes scabiei,
that burrow into the top layer of human skin to lay their eggs.
Mites are small eight-legged parasites (in contrast to insects, which
have six legs). They are tiny, just 1/3 millimeter long, and burrow
into the skin to produce intense itching, which tends to be worse at
night. The mites that cause scabies are not visible with the naked eye
but can be seen with a magnifying glass or microscope.
Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly through close physical
contact in a family, child care group, school class or nursing home.
Because of the contagious nature of scabies, doctors often recommend
treatment for entire families or contact groups to eliminate the mite.
The scabies mite causes symptoms when it digs a little tunnel below the
skin (referred to as a burrow) and causes a type of allergic reaction.
If the person has never been exposed to scabies before, he or she may
not show symptoms until four to six weeks after the initial
infestation. Individuals who have been exposed in the past usually show
symptoms within a few days.
Close physical contact and, less often, sharing clothing or bedding
with an infected person can spread the mites.
After being exposed to someone with scabies, it can take 4-6 weeks for
a rash to develop, which appears as:
- Little red bumps, nodules, or pimple like irritations,
which are most commonly located on the webbing between children's
fingers, on the inner part of their wrist, under their arms, and on
their elbows, knees, and along their belt line.
- short zigzag or S shaped lines or burrows
- Sores, which can be caused by a secondary bacterial
infection of impetigo, a Streptococci or Staphylococci bacterial skin
infection, may occur after scratching. Cellulitis may also occur,
resulting in localized swelling, redness and fever (DermNet).
In addition to the rash, the most
characteristic symptom of scabies is that the rash is intensely itchy,
especially at night. Itchy skin may become thick, scaly, scabbed, and
crisscrossed with scratch marks.
To diagnose scabies, dermatologist examines affected skin, looking for
signs of mites, including the characteristic burrows. When
dermatologist locates a mite burrow, he or she may take a scraping from
that area of skin to examine under a microscope. The microscopic
examination can determine the presence of mites or their eggs.
An ink test is also sometimes done. This involves placing ink on what
you think is a burrow, wiping it away, and then seeing if some of the
ink remains down inside the burrow.
Scabies is often mistaken for other itchy rashes, particularly if only
one child is affected. The main problem is that by the time you see
your Pediatrician, your child's itching has usually 'ruined' the
burrows, which are the most of the characteristic parts of the rash.
Be sure to ask your Pediatrician about scabies if your child has an
intensely itchy rash, especially if other family members or close
contacts have or have recently had the same rash. Since it can take 4-6
weeks for the rash to develop, keep in mind that all family members may
not have symptoms at the same time.
Curing scabies is rather easy with the administration of prescription
scabicide drugs. Because scabies spreads so easily, your doctor may
recommend treatment for all family members and other close contacts,
even if they show no signs of scabies infestation. Along with that
certain measures has to be done-
1.Wash all clothing, towels, and bed linens that you have used in the
last three days. Use hot water.
2.Nails should be properly cut,and clean under them thoroughly to
remove any mites or eggs that may be present.
3.Thoroughly vacuum your rugs, furniture, bedding, and car interior and
throw the vacuum-cleaner bag away when finished.
4.Try to avoid scratching. Keep any open sores clean.
Role of Homoeopathy-
Homoeopathy proves effective in treating the cases of scabies.
Homoeopathic medicines will help in decreasing the intensity of the
symptoms and preventing further attacks. The medicine is selected on
the basis of symptoms of the patients after thorough case taking. It
shows excellent results in curing scabies.
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