What is scabies?
Tiny mites which are known as sarcoptes causes scabies. It is a skin condition which is easily spread from one person to another. These mites have a complete life cycle which starts from burrowing deep inside skin, lay eggs. This process brings itchiness due to rashes on the skin caused by mites. Intensity of itchiness goes to the height when the eggs are hatched and are ready to produce more eggs. This disease is verified and recognized after three to four weeks. Once the carrier of scabies has infection, risk of spread gets high.
Usually it is a condition which happens to be seen in places which doesn’t have good hygiene conditions and personal cleanliness is almost to zero level. However, there are many other ways and reasons through which scabies infestations appear on skin.
How Common Is Scabies:
Scabies is found and known as the terrible invasion of mites in the deepest core of skin. It’s commonly found in the underprivileged areas or slums. Not much seen in city where the hygiene and cleanliness is taken into account.
Another thing about its common grounds lies in the fact that scabies is found in pets which carries from them to human and burrow inside the skin to lay eggs. So, it is commonly dealt with a number of ointments and lotions.
How Do You Get Scabies?
How do we get scabies is a frequently asked question. It is mostly infested because of terrible hygiene and cleanliness issues. Besides that, you may catch scabies because of following things, factors and situations:
1. Body contact:
Contact of bodies for long or some extended time gives these mites chance to transmit from one body to another. Sexual acts or holding someone’s hands for long may be the cause of it. You might catch scabies from someone who already has it by following actions:
- Hugging for more than an hour. It sounds weird to hug someone for that long but again there are moments when you just need hug and it ends after an hour. In this case you are the best victim of scabies.
- Shaking hand for too long. Again, who really does that? But there are those who just forget to remove hand from others palm. On a serious note, it is how scabies infests on others body.
- Intercourse can also make it happen. Infestation is quick and easy during the sexual acts.
2. Sharing of linen, clothes and physical touch:
The one good thing about scabies is that the mites which infests scabies can’t jump, fly or crawl. They just transfer. So, the best places where you can get infected by these tiny evil mites are bed sheets, laundry which is kept dirty for more than a month, clothes which are shared among others or any human touch to an already infected person are the ways to get scabies.
3. Enclosed environments:
It is observed that places which are surrounded with schools or nursing homes are of greater risk to infest scabies. To deal with the situation, medical care in these close and compact surroundings or environment is much needed.
What Causes Scabies:
Scabies is caused by parasitic mites which are known as sarcoptes scabiei. It was discovered in the 18th century by an Italian biologist named Giacinto Cestoni. He found out that infestation of scabies begins from female mites which burrows deep in the skin, settles and lays eggs which hatches and then the entire cycle take place.
It is a contagious skin condition. It demands care and lookout through which it can be dealt. Like mentioned above, there are other ways through which they transmit from one body to another.
- Physical contact for too long.
- Sharing of clothes.
- Using and being around the person who has scabies.
- Shaking hands.
- Too closed environment.
- Places and people where cleanliness isn’t found.
- Dirty laundry.
Signs And Symptoms Of Scabies:
Firstly it is worthwhile to understand the main difference between signs and symptoms of a disease or medical condition. Signs are detected and monitored by other people which doesn’t include you. Doctors, other siblings and health investigators are some examples of others in this case. Symptom is what you feel as a patient. This is what you experience. So here are the symptoms and signs of scabies:
Symptoms of scabies:
The most common symptoms of scabies are:
- Rashes on the skin.
- Intense and severe itching on the skin.
- Itchiness gets worst after a hot shower and at the night time.
- Small tiny spots which are actually the burrow marks.
- Appearance of these tiny pimple like spots which are mostly red in color are found in a line or series of four to eight spots.
- Spots are mostly found in the following body parts:
- Under arms or arm pits.
- Hips or buttocks
- The space inside the elbow.
- Feet’s sole.
- The space between toes or fingers.
- Near genitals.
- Neck, face and head.
- Hand’s palms.
What Are Risk Factors For Scabies?
It is a must thing to know about scabies: complications or risk factors of scabies.
1. Crusted scabies:
These are said to be the worst form of scabies which is normally found in the cases with less immune system. People who are effected are pregnant women, infants or toddlers, people who are under the treatment of cancer, those who have HIV or AIDS, Down syndrome and those with any kind of psychological or mental disorders. If the same people have good immune system it will not let the reproductive system of scabies mites spread.
2. Spread of scabies mites:
When scabies mites infests its eggs and are present everywhere except face and have following symptoms it is a call for risk. Those symptoms include thick crusts over skin, rashes which are scaly, itching is way lesser than in the regular type of scabies. These are much more severe in its nature because thick crusts never let scabies go away.
3. Dermatological conditions and scabies:
If anyone is already diagnosed with eczema or any other skin disease, scabies is going to stay in there for a longer time.
Impetigo is a second stage of scabies which happens to occur when you scratch skin excessively. It causes breakage which is defenseless and weak for the infection.
How Is Scabies Infestation Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is an important part to deal with any disease or condition. Likewise, scabies has been diagnosed by doctors, general physician or GUM which stands for – genito and urinary medicine. Scabies is diagnosed through:
1. Visual signs:
Common methods to diagnose scabies is by visual signs which appears on the skin and body. In some cases certain tests are run on blood to find further complications. It is always necessary to get tests done before any follow up. Sometimes, scabies is little tough to handle because of any skin disease like that of eczema or psoriasis. It doesn’t allow scabies to get cured easily and needs certain procedures.
2. Ink test:
Ink test is recommended in some cases. Doctor or the physician rubs ink on your skin and wipes it off with alcohol pads. In the situation of infestation of burrows, some of the ink remains present and other occur as a dark or black line. This test is kind of difficult because, burrows are not seen without any microscope or naked eye.
3. Tetracycline solution and scabies:
At times, Tetracycline solution is used instead of ink. Skin glows if it is seen under particular type of light.
4. Skin sample:
In this procedure, mites are searched for the eggs of mites, mite faeces and mites themselves by taking skin samples. It is set in potassium hydroxide and then check it under microscope.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Scabies:
There are ways through which scabies can be healed without seeing doctor. However, you must and should see doctor if you don’t get to see any difference in the infestation.
Secondary skin infections which are associated to scabies are treated by zinc. It also helps in taking care of outbreaks of fungus. This is what you need to do to treat scabies:
- Take three zinc tablets, grind it till it reaches the powdery form. Make it thick by adding small portion of water.
- Apply it on the area where scabies is infested. Leave it there till it is all dried.
- Use lukewarm water to rinse it off.
- Repeat the procedure once in a day.
In addition to it, you should have much of zinc through food. Sunflower seeds and soybeans are examples from which you can get zinc in abundance.
Scabies can be treated by the help of a herb named turmeric, because of its antiseptic properties. Follow the procedure mentioned below to form a paste which does wonders for scabies.
- Squeeze half lemon. Take few drops of it and mix it well with a tablespoon of turmeric powder.
- The consistency of the mixture should remain thick.
- Apply on the areas where scabies is found and leave it there for an hour.
- Rinse it with warm water.
3. Cayenne pepper:
The main property of cayenne pepper is to kill mites which helps in treating scabies. This is what you have to do in order to get cured:
- Take hot water and mix one cup of cayenne pepper in it.
- Let the water infuse in you. Remain in the warm water till the water gets cold.
- Rinse it off with cold and clean water.
- Repeat it once in a day.
P.S: It is not for sensitive skin.
Medical Remedies To Get Rid Of Scabies:
The worst thing about these scabies mites and burrows lies under the fact that they do not go away even if you rub scrubs on your effected skin. There are particular solutions in the form of lotions and creams which are applied to get cure. It is mandatory to stay away from the person who has scabies. There are many lotions and creams which heals or at least helps in soothing scabies. Two famous ones are:
- Permethrin cream:
It is not designed for children who are under the age of two years or those ladies who are pregnant. You are bound to take permission of doctor before using this cream because it comes with severe side effects. Tingling sensation, skin irritation and severe form of itching are included in its side effects.
- Malathion lotion:
Doctor’s recommendation is a pre-requisite of using this lotion. It does not affect pregnant or lactating women or children under the age of two.
In some really risky matters with scabies where effected person may not respond to any other solutions, steroids are recommended. But again, you need to consult a doctor before applying any steroid.
Mites are supposedly killed by washing linen, clothes, towels on a very high temperature.
How To Prevent Scabies:
Staying away from people who already have scabies is one of the preventive measures. You need to know and understand how it is transmitted.
Physical contact may cause scabies so what you have to do is to stay away. Also, avoid sexual acts and intercourse during the infestation of scabies. Make sure you are not using or sharing clothes, linen or bed sheets of the person who has scabies. These are few preventive measures. There are few more, you should take pills which will not let your immune system get low or weak.
When To See A Doctor For Scabies:
When you see the symptoms and signs are not progressed in terms of appearance or any sort of infection is persisting, then it is a must thing to go and get yourself checked. If fever run on you and there is no apparent reason of it, infections occur and you don’t know what is happening on your skin, then also you should see doctor.