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PERSONS COMMONLY AFFECTED

  • Children and young adults but anyone can be affected

FEATURES

  • Very itchy, red, small bumps on the skin. However, it may take 2-6 weeks for symptoms to develop after being exposed to scabies
  • Itching is worse at night
  • Areas commonly affected are the spaces between the fingers and toes, genital area, belt area, and underarms .
  • In babies, the head and cheeks may also be affected
  • If left untreated, may lead to development of secondary bacterial infection
  • Other family or household member are often affected as well

REASONS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Infestation of the mite Sarcoptes scabie which burrows into the upper layer of the skin
  • Transferred by direct skin contact with infested skin, as well as infested clothing, linens and furniture
  • You do not acquire scabies from contact with animals

OTHER FACTORS

  • Scabies can spread easily in crowded conditions such as day care centers, schools, nursing homes, etc

TREATMENT

  • Application of a scabicide lotion. Your dermatologist may prescribe one of these scabicides (Permethrin, benzyl benzoate, crotamiton, or sulphur ointment). You need to apply the medication from neck down to your toes, making sure you apply between the fingers and toes and other areas such as crease between your buttocks, underarms, under the breasts, etc. The length and frequency of application will depend on the medication prescribed.
  • To make sure treatment is complete, all household contacts and sexual partners should be treated even if without symptoms (because some people have mites on them but do not have the symptoms). Do not treat your pets. Human scabies do not affect your pets.
  • Mites can survive on clothing and objects for a few days. Therefore, all clothing and linens used within the past 3 days prior to treatment should be washed in hot water in order to kill the mites
    • Bed sheet
    • Sofa covers
    • Towels
    • Clothes
  • Antibiotics applied to the skin or taken by mouth may be needed if there is bacterial infection
  • Itching can last for several weeks even after treatment with a scabicide which can be controlled with intake of anti-itch medications

PREVENTION

  • Avoiding direct skin contact with a person infested with scabies
  • Avoiding using items such as clothes and linens used by a person with scabies
  • All household members should be treated at the same time as the patient to prevent getting the mites again
  • Clean the house regularly

WHY DO I NEED TO SEE A BOARD-CERTIFIED DERMATOLOGIST

  • Some skin diseases may look like scabies which would need different medications to be treated properly. A board-certified dermatologist would be able to differentiate these diseases from scabies and give you the appropriate treatment.
  • Itching can disturb a person’s sleep which may affect activities at school or at work. Too much scratching can cause wounds that may be infected and require oral antibiotics. If left untreated, bacteria will grow uncontrolled which may lead to hospitalization. Consulting a board-certified dermatologist early will prevent unwanted complications.
PDS
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