Scabies, or the seven-year itch, is a skin infection caused by a species of mite that burrows into the skin. The mite triggers an allergic reaction that results in intense itchiness and skin discomfort.
Symptoms of Scabies
- Itchiness, particularly at night
- Rashes between the legs, on the hands, feet, elbows or back
- Thin lines on the skin marking the mite’s path
Scabies is a worldwide skin disease that can affect anyone at any age. It occurs when pregnant female mites tunnel into the outer layer of skin and lay their eggs in burrows. The presence of the mites under the skin triggers the body’s immune system in the form of an allergic reaction which appears as a rash or itch.
Like other bug-borne disease, scabies is highly contagious. It is typically spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with infected individuals. However, because the mites can live up to 36 hours without a host, scabies can also be transmitted through shared bed sheets, clothes, and furniture.
With recommended treatments, scabies may be cured in two to three weeks. The majority of scabies infections will disappear with the use of prescribed creams and ointments spread across the entire body. In severe cases, oral medications such as Ivermectin may be taken to kill the infecting mites.
To prevent another outbreak, every member of an infected household should undergo scabies treatment. All furniture and carpeting should be vacuumed. Likewise, all clothes, towels, and bed sheets should be washed in hot water.
The sooner scabies treatment begins, the faster the symptoms end. If you fear you may be suffering a scabies infection, contact the Total Skin Center now. A skin rash is the body’s alert message that something is wrong that needs to be fixed. The Total Skin Center understands rashes and can help you determine the causes and the available treatments.