Scabies is a contagious, itchy skin condition which affects close to a million Americans. Scabies is caused by a mite bite which is a bug incredibly tiny that it cannot be seen on the skin. This skin mite burrows its way into the top layer of the skin where it lives and eats. A reaction to the mite is what causes a rash and itchiness.
Mites can travel from person to person commonly through direct skin contact. Less common people may contract scabies through bedding, clothing and furniture. A skin mite can live up to 48 to 72 hours without human contact and any person can become infected by it.
Scabies generally tends to spread quicker and more frequently in places like nursing homes and extended-care facilities due to close proximity.
The bright side is that scabies can easily be detected as well as treated and is not a chronic condition by any means.
The primary symptom related to scabies is severe itchiness accompanied by a rash. Itchiness can affect a person’s daily life and even keep them awake at night. If a person has never experienced scabies before it can take several weeks for symptoms to occur. If a person has a history of scabies they can contract it again and symptoms will appear much sooner.
Scabies is highly contagious so for safe measures it’s best you avoid contact with others in order to prevent passing it on. Additionally, if you live with others it is recommended they, too, begin treatment for scabies as preventative measures.
It is not chronic and can be cured and can be treated with a variety of topical solutions. If topical therapies are not successful then oral medications may be prescribed but it should not be taken by pregnant women or children under 33 pounds.
Other medications may be used to relief symptoms such as antihistamines and antibiotics.
In order to avoid the irritating rash presented by scabies it’s best to avoid if possible. If you have previously been infected it is good measure to ensure your home is properly cleaned, vacuumed and linens are all washed. You may even wish to clean the interior of your car as well.
Avoid those you may know who have scabies and maintain proper hygiene although it is not a known risk factor. Risk factors to be mindful of which may increase the risk of scabies include:
- New sexual partners
- Having more than two sexual partners
- Not using protecting during sexual intercourse
- Living in crowded areas
- Working in crowded areas
- Living or working in a nursing home
- Elderly people with low immune systems
- Children at school or day-care
- Hospital workers
Knowing your risks can also help you better prevent scabies and be more aware of its threat.
Although it is not life threatening or chronic it can be severely irritating and can disrupt your daily life.Some home remedies are found to be effective that one can try to get rid of scabies. The good news is that it is treatable so as long as you are not passing it on to others you will return back to normal.