Scabies is a contagious skin disease that can cause itching and small raised red spots. It is caused by Sarcoptes scabies, an eight-legged mite. The mite, also known as the human itch or mange mite, can spread very easily from one person to another through close physical contact.
It is estimated to infect over 300 million humans worldwide each year. It occurs frequently in children and young adults.
How scabies spread
Scabies usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Contact must be prolonged, a quick handshake or hug usually will not spread scabies. Scabies is spread easily to sexual partners due to skin contact and household members.
Symptoms of Scabies
When mites enter in human skin, it takes 2 to 6 weeks for symptoms to appear.
The following are the sign and symptoms:
Itching is one of the most common symptoms. It occurs mainly at night.
The rash looks like pimple pink raised bumps filled with fluid. Sometimes the rash appears in a row. As the mites burrow and lay eggs inside the skin, the infestation leads to a rash.
Scratching the itchy rash at infested areas can cause sores.
Crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies. It is a form of in which hundreds to thousands of mites lay eggs within skin crusts, causing severe skin symptoms.
Site of infestation where mite attack
In humans site of infestation where mites attack are the following:
- In between the fingers
- Close to naval
- Around fingernails
- Inner parts of the wrists
- Inner elbow
- Soles of the feet
- Breasts, areas around the nipples
- Male genitalia
In babies and toddlers infestation areas are:
- Palms of the hands
Causes of Scabies
It is caused by tiny mites that burrow into your skin. Intense itching occurs in the area where the mite burrows. The urge to scratch may be especially strong at night.
Mites burrow under the skin. After burrowing, the female mite lays its eggs. Once hatched, the larvae move to the surface of the skin and spread across the body or to another host through close physical contact.
Humans are not the only species affected by mites. Dogs and cats can also be infected. It is highly contagious and spread through direct skin to skin contact or by using household items such as a towel, bedding, or furniture infested with the mites.
People mostly infested with mites include:
- Playing children’s
- Children attending school
- Sexually active young adults and
- People with multiple sexual partners
- People with a weak immune system
- Older adults
Treatment of Scabies
It is highly contagious. If anyone has had close contact with the patient will recommend receiving treatment for scabies even if they do not have any symptoms.
You can treat scabies with medications such as 5 percent permethrin cream, crotamiton cream, or lindane lotion. Most topical medications are applied for 7 to 14 hours at night and washed off in the morning.
There are also natural treatments to treat scabies such as:
Tea tree oil
Some studies show tea tree oil may treat scabies, while also easing itching and helping eliminate the rash.
Aloe vera gel is used for skin irritation and burning. It is used for treating scabies. Just be sure to buy pure aloe vera, not an aloe vera-infused product.
Clove oil is a natural bug killer, so it stands to reason mites might die in its presence. Other essential oils, including lavender, lemongrass, and nutmeg, could have some benefit at treating scabies.
Active components from the bark, leaves, and seeds of the neem tree may kill the mites that cause scabies. Soaps, creams, and oils made with the tree’s extract may help deliver the fatal blow to the mites.