Doctor's Notes on Scabies
Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by an infestation of the skin by a mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. It is transmitted from person to person by direct skin contact with an infected person. Sexual contact is also a common means of transmission.
Signs and symptoms of scabies include itching that can become very severe, especially at night. There is an associated rash that appears to resemble pimples. Scabies rash is most commonly seen around the wrists, armpits, elbows, between the fingers and toes, around the nails, and in areas of skin skin usually covered by clothing including the buttocks, belt line, nipples, and penis. Another associated symptom is the presence of "burrows," which are thin gray, brown, or red lines on the skin that lead away from the bumps.
What Is the Treatment for Scabies?
Scabies can be cured by treatment with prescription scabicide drugs. There are no approved over-the-counter preparations or home remedies that have proven to be effective in eliminating scabies.
Prescription topical medications are applied directly to the affected area to treat the condition. An oral medication may also be given if the topical medications are not effective or cannot be tolerated by the patient.
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Allergic ReactionAn allergic reaction is an overreaction to a harmless substance. Symptoms and signs of an allergic reaction include hives, rashes, swelling, itching, wheezing, nausea, and even anaphylactic shock in severe reactions. Treatment involves avoiding triggers, taking oral antihistamines, applying anti-inflammatory steroid creams, and using an EpiPen.
Chiggers vs. ScabiesBoth chiggers and scabies mites usually cannot be seen with the naked eye. Chiggers do not burrow under the skin. They inject enzymes that destroy tissue. Scabies mites burrow under the skin and feed on the skin. Both chigger and scabies bites cause symptoms like pain, redness, bumps, blisters. Both chiggers and scabies mites are parasites. Chigger and scabies mites bites can be treated at home without medical treatment.
Hives and AngioedemaHives are a sudden allergic skin reaction. Hives are raised reddish bumps that cause severe itching. Angioedema is similar to hives but the welts are larger and involve a deeper layer in the skin. Allergies, insect stings and bites, stress, exercise, and infections are common causes of hives and angioedema. In mild cases, no treatment is needed. Severe reactions should be treated by a health care professional.
How Do You Catch Scabies?Scabies is an infestation by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. These tiny mites and burrow into the skin, which creates intense itching that is worse at night. Scabies is contagious through skin-to-skin contact, often transmitted sexually or between mothers and their young children.
Rash (Causes, Types, and Cures)A rash is a visible skin outbreak. Examples of noninfectious rashes include eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, hives, and allergic dermatitis. Types of infectious rashes include ringworm, impetigo, scabies, herpes, chickenpox, and shingles. Rashes may be caused by fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Treatment depends upon the type of rash.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies.Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Skin Rashes in ChildrenSkin rashes in children may be categorized as bacterial, viral, life-threatening, fungal, and parasitic rashes. Oftentimes, the associated symptoms help establish the diagnosis. Treatment depends upon the type of rash and the severity of the signs and symptoms.
What Is the First Sign of Scabies?The Sarcoptes scabiei hominis mite causes scabies. Signs and symptoms of scabies include a rash that becomes intensely itchy at night. The rash may look like pimples, scales, or blisters. Scabicides kill scabies mites.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.