Scabies is a rash that is characterized by small reddish and/or pinkish bumps. Blisters can also appear in the inflamed or affected areas. Scabies occurs in people when small mites have burrowed under the skin. The scabies rash appears and worsens when the mites lay eggs and leave behind feces, which irritates the skin. Scabies produces an extremely itchy response in people, and many people scratch in response to this sensation. Scratching can greatly increase the chances that the rash areas can become infected, and bacterial infections sometimes make the rash symptoms and conditions worsen. Scabies can be easily transmitted between people, and therefore, it is a highly contagious condition even though it is not contracted because of a dirty environment or unsanitary living conditions. Instead, scabies is frequently transmitted in group living situations, including nursing or retirement homes and hospital wards or settings. Day care centers can also be hit heavily by scabies infections, as can schools and other locations where large groups of children congregate on a regular basis.
The scabies rash frequently appears on certain areas of the body, including extremities like the fingers and toes, and also, in areas of the body where folds of skin are in place. These types of areas can include but are not limited to the armpits, the region around the breasts and buttocks, and the areas near the genitals and navel. When children contract scabies, they can have the rash appear on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet. The actual rash appears as the bumps previously mentioned, and also, as small reddish and/or pinkish trails which can “record” where the mites have traveled or burrowed beneath the skin. Pus-filled bumps which might burst if scratched can also be part of the rash symptoms.
A particularly intense type of scabies happens when the rash or symptoms have a crusty or possibly flaky quality. This type of scabies is called Norwegian scabies, and is usually more extreme than other, more frequently occurring types of scabies. In cases of Norwegian scabies, the infected persons could have hundreds or thousands of mites in their systems, as opposed to more frequently occurring cases, which sometimes is caused by less than 100 mites. Many times, people who are susceptible to this type of scabies have weakened or diminished immune systems. These patients may need to administer a typical treatment protocol multiple times in order to completely cure the infestation.
When a confirmed diagnosis of scabies has been established by a licensed physician or dermatologist, a rigorous treatment protocol will likely be administered. In most cases, an external cream designed to treat the infected areas will be used. The most commonly used type of cream is permethrin cream. This particular substance is even safe for very young infants, pregnant women, and HIV-positive persons. In some cases, an internally ingested prescription medication is also taken in addition to the application of the external cream to the infected sites. One medicine which is sometimes used is called ivermectin.
The creams usually must be applied to almost the entire body: adults must have the cream on their body below the next, and infants and children sometimes need the cream placed on their heads and faces. The symptoms can become worse in the first few days of treatment; however, as time passes, the symptoms should be reduced. Ultimately, they should vanish within four weeks after the first administration. If symptoms do not subside, additional administrations and/or applications might be needed.
Other types of approaches can also be utilized in conjunction with the prototypical treatments. Antibiotic creams are often administered to prevent or stave off infections, perhaps especially bacterial infections which can occur after intense scratching. Antihistamine creams can go to great lengths to reduce the swelling and inflammation of infected areas. Along the same lines, steroid creams can also reduce these symptoms, as well as redness; internally taken steroids like prednisone are also utilized for this purpose.
Individuals who believe they might be infected with scabies should seek a consultation with a dermatologist, physician, or medical health professional. In addition to the infected person seeking and securing treatment, any person with whom they have come into close contact should also be treated, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms or signs of having actually contracted scabies. This holds especially true for persons who might have had sexual interactions with the infected person. If a scabies outbreak occurs in an institution, strong measures should be taken to try and prevent further outbreaks.