Scabies: The Itch

Eggs are laid by the mites, leading to itching sensation and small blisters. The itchy bumps are referred to as the scabies infection. In scabies: the itch worsens as each day passes, till it is finally treated. Tiny tunnels are dug into the skin by the wee itch mites causing a lot of irritation and itching. Ticks and spiders come from the arachnid family, to which the itch mites also belong. Surface of the skin is the breeding ground for the teeny itch mite which cannot be seen by the naked eye. In scabies: the itch mite is round having eight legs unlike insects that are normally observed with six legs. This mite is microscopic and does not grow bigger than the size of the tip of a pin.

Female itch mites lay eggs in the topmost layer of the skin and die within a month of laying eggs. After the eggs hatch again teeny itch mites grow again and come up to the surface of the skin. Once the male mites and female mites mate, the males die and the females continue to dig or burrow into the skin to lay more eggs. This entire cycle continues for about three weeks. Actually anyone can get infected with scabies, but it is generally younger children and infants who are prone to this infection. The itch mite infects anyone and all it needs is the human skin to thrive, and for this anyone will do.

Scabies: Symptoms and signs of the infection

In scabies, the itch is the most common symptom to identify the infection. After a hot bath and most during the night time, the itching worsens. In its initial stages the scabies itch begins with the development of small pus filled red bumps, or blisters, which keep itching and break if scratched. The infected skin looks crisscrossed with scratch marks and is scabbed and scaly and becomes a thick itchy skin, later on. This development, especially along an exposed area, could be very socially embarrassing.

Common areas on the body which get infected are the folds under the arms, the inner part of the wrists, webs of skin between the toes and fingers, hands as well as feet. Buttocks, navel, genitals, breast areas as well as the elbows are the other areas of the body which get infected with scabies. It feels very unclean when scabies infects you. If the scabies infected skin is scratched and then you touch another part of your body, there are chances of the infection being passed on to the other area of the body. If there is any injured skin, the itch mite infests the areas to a level of complete discomfort.

How to prevent scabies:

It isn’t very difficult to prevent scabies. One of the main reasons of getting infected is through human contact.  Physical contact is the commonest way of transmitting scabies. In scabies, the itch mite lives up to three days in the bedding or clothing. If the same infected towels, linen or infected bed of another infected person is used then it is possible to get the infection. In households it is a better idea if all the members get themselves treated if any one member has been infected with scabies. Hot water should be used to wash every towel, linen, bed sheets and clothing to destroy the itch mites.  If you vacuum the room, then ensure to throw away the vacuum cleaner bag too.

Treatment of scabies:

It is best to take the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. Many a times we tend to ignore the scabies infection. Sometimes the situation may worsen, after which you may have to go to the doctor, but at a later stage the treatment takes more time. Children get helpless with this infection. In scabies, the itch mite which thrives in the webbed part of the fingers and toes as well as the area around the wrists creates a lot of discomfort.

The itching is known to worsen at night and get very irritating. If the condition is very bad, the doctor may scrape out a part of the infected area and observe it under the microscope. Once there are signs of scabies mites, treatment is administered accordingly. Avoid close contact with people in crowded places, as you never know who is infected with scabies. Most common places where mites are found are camps, childcare centers, classrooms, college dorms etc. If you touch someone with scabies: the itch mite is sure to pass on to you. Avoid using towels, clothing and linen of other people, especially those infected with scabies. A number of ointments and creams are available which provide instant relief. However if you find that the infection has not gone, you may have to change the line of treatment.

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