Scabies is a skin related condition in which the skin becomes itchy and infected. It’s caused by small, tiny mites that burrow the top layer of skin.
Scabies is very contagious and can spread from person to person through any sort of physical contact. If one family member is suffering from scabies then all other family members are likely to get it through contact. Scabies can spread even through household items like towels, bed sheets, clothes etc.
The culprit for scabies is a mite called sarcoptes scabiei. This mite is so tiny and microscopic in size which makes it invisible to naked eye. The female mite burrows the top layers of skin and ultimately reaches underlying deep layers, where it lays eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are produced which creep along the skin to other parts of body, causing itching. In response to the infection caused by these larvae, body’s natural immune system comes into action to fight this infection which culminates in allergic skin reactions.
Scabies Signs and symptoms
- Itching which usually gets intense during night time.
- Fluid filled bumps.
- Scaly skin.
- Commonly affected sites are web between fingers, hands, armpits, inner part of wrists, shoulders and buttocks.
When to seek medical attention for Scabies
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms and feel that they are persistent for the past few days then you must consult a doctor. Doctor will carefully examine the symptoms and will find out the underlying cause of it.
Scratching of skin tears it apart and makes it vulnerable to bacterial infection, a condition called impetigo.
It’s more severe form of scabies which usually occurs in patients with weak immune system like AIDS patients, people undergoing chemotherapy, pregnant females, elder persons etc
- Wash clothes
Wash the clothes, bed sheets and towel in warm water along with some antiseptic. This will help kill the mites. It’s suggested for the scabies patient to change clothes and bed sheets and wash them on daily basis.
- Tea tree oil
Apply tea tree oil to affected skin. The anti septic property of tea tree oil kills mites.
- Keep your skin cool
Take a wash cloth, dip it in a bowl of cold water and then gently press the affected areas with it. This remedy will give you a temporary and instant relief from itching.
Take antihistamines to counter the effects of allergy.
- Permethrin and lindane
These are topically applied creams. Apply them from the level below neck, leave for overnight and then wash it away. Lindane shouldn’t be used by pregnant females.
- Avoid physical contact with scabies patient as much as possible.
- Use disinfectant to clean floor and bathroom.
- Non washable things should be disposed off carefully in plastic bags to minimize the risk of infestation with mites.
- Doctors and nurses working in hospitals should wear gloves before examining patients with skin diseases
Avoid using the personal belongings of scabies patients.