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Scabies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

A Contagious skin infestation caused by the mite Sarcoptes scaibei is known as scabies. These microscopic mites reproduce on the surface of the Skin and then burrow into it and lay eggs. This causes the skin to develop red rashes and itchiness. There are millions of cases of this across the world. Scabies is a highly contagious disease that is passed on from one person to another either through direct skin contact or through infested clothing or bedding.

3D Medical Animation showing Scabies mites reproducing on the surface of the skin

3D Medical Animation showing Scabies mites reproducing on the surface of the skin

Symptoms

The main Symptoms of this disease are, intense itching that usually worsens at night, rashes which look like pimples, sores caused by scratching, and track like burrows made up of tiny blisters. These symptoms may be present across the whole body or mostly between the fingers,the folds of the wrist,elbow and knees, around the waist and navel, on the breasts or genitals. In young children the symptoms may also appear on the neck, head, face, palms and soles of the feet.

Causes

Scabies is caused by infection by the female mite Sarcoptes scaibei. When the mite burrows into the skin to live and deposit eggs, an allergic reaction to the mites is produced by the skin in the form of severe itchiness and a pimple like rash and sometimes, even burrows in the skin.

Treatment

Scabies is easily treated with medication. Eliminating the infestation with prescription creams, lotions, and ointments is the main purpose of the treatment. These ointments and creams are directly applied on the skin overnight and are washed off in the morning. Oral medications are also available. The most common medicines used for treatment of scabies are, Permethrin cream, Lindane lotion, Crotamiton and Ivermectin pills. These medicines kill the mites instantly but the itching may take several weeks to subside. Antihistamine and antibiotics may also be prescribed to help with itching and other symptoms.

Everyone who has been in close contact with a person diagnosed with scabies should also be treated since it is a highly contagious disease. Clothes, bedding and towels also must be washed and cleaned thoroughly to prevent getting scabies again.

Disclaimer: The information in no way constitutes, or should be construed as medical advice. Nor is the above article an endorsement of any research findings discussed in the article an endorsement for any of the source publications.

References:

  1. Scabies Wikipedia
  2. What are the symptoms of scabies?

3D Medical Animation still of cross section of inflammatory Skin.

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Test your knowledge

  1. Which gland produces oil in skin?
  2. What is the topmost layer of the skin called?
  3. Did you know?

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