Scabies is an extremely irritable skin condition that occurs in reponse to a mite infection. This tiny mite is known as Sarcoptes scabiei, which is only just visible to the naked eye, and is only sensitized to it’s female gender. This female mite will tunnel itself under the thin surface of the skin layer and lay significant numbers of eggs in tiny self-made borrows. Unfortunately these burrows are very difficult to detect and again is barely visible by the naked eye.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
- The primary symptom is severe itching on multiple parts of the body, thus leading to widespread body rashes.
- Linear or curved tracts can be barely visible by the eye, usually leading to a mite at the end of the tract.
- Confirmation of infestation can occur when mites are removed from the skin by the sharp point of the needle head or when the burrow and their eggs can be exposed by scarping the skin with the needle head.
- It may take 4-6 weeks after contracting the infection before the allergic reaction begins to develop. The widespread itchy rash is particularly irriable during night, or when the body temperature rises during exercise or showering.
- Common sites of burrow infection include finger webs, wrists, elbows, ankles, breasts and gentialia.
Transmission of the mite is by direct skin-to-skin contact with an affected individual, and usually occurs in bed. Holding hands is usually a less common mode of transmission especially in children, but it is known anyone can contact scabies and anyone whom has been sexually active with an infected carrier is certain to contact the infection. It is recommended to question any sexual partner that has visible body rashes before preceeding further.Treatment
If you suspect that you have scabies or develop similar symptoms you should consult your physician to confirm any diagnosis. Your doctor will be able to prescribe a course of treatment and tell you how to look after yourself.Any treatment involves a relatively harmless course of all-over special body cream known as a scaicide. Scaicide acts by killing all mites, eggs, and their burrows. The scaicide must be applied directly to the skin for no less than 24 hours. Re-application must occur each time any part of the body is washed ie. hand washing and showering. The treatment process is then repeated 24 hours later and all personal garments, bed-linen, and personal towels should be laundered separately in a thorough washing cycle.