Scabies: What is it, symptoms, treatment
Scabies is caused by invisible microorganisms called Sarcoptes Scabiei, which can live in the body. Females of the mite Sarcoptes Scabiei lay their eggs by digging tunnels into human skin. Mites, which increase their number on the skin with the eggs they lay, move through the tunnels they open and create an itching sensation on the skin. Both the progression of the mites and the allergic reaction on the skin increase itching, causing pain and rash. Scabies, which has very disturbing symptoms, must be treated as soon as possible.
What is Scabies?
Scabies, also known as scabies, is an infectious disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes Scabiei settling on the skin. The reason why it is one of the most common diseases in our country is that it can be transmitted from person to person, as well as through clothing and belongings. For this reason, it usually occurs in crowded environments such as prisons, barracks, nursing homes and schools. Since the mite that causes scabies moves slowly and does not have the ability to jump or fly, it is necessary to be in contact for a while for it to be transmitted. In order to avoid catching contagious diseases such as scabies in public environments, care should be taken not to share personal items.
What are the symptoms of scabies?
Scabies symptoms begin not when the mite first enters the body, but when new mites spread to the body from the eggs they lay. For this reason, while symptoms normally appear 2-3 weeks after the time of infection, in people who have had scabies before, it settles faster and symptoms begin to appear within 3-4 days. The most obvious symptom of scabies is undoubtedly severe and long-lasting itching. Persistent itching increases, especially at night. Over time, other symptoms of scabies disease, other than itching, appear on the skin. The main symptoms caused by scabies can be listed as follows:
- Itching that does not go away for a long time and increases at night
- Skin rash and rashes
- Blisters, crusts and wound formation on the skin
- Sensitivity, pain and soreness on the skin
- Lines on the arms due to tunnels opened in the skin
What Causes Scabies and How Is It Transmitted?
The parasite that causes scabies is an invisible microorganism that varies in size between 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm. The mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei pierces the skin and opens tunnels inside, while females lay their eggs in these tunnels. They usually lay their eggs in curved areas of the body such as knees, elbows and between fingers. The eggs develop within an average of 21 days and form new mites.
Scabies is classified as an infestation because it occurs not when the mite is first infected, but two to three weeks later when new mites spread from eggs. Since the mobility of the mites is limited, it is necessary to be in contact or stand very close for a while in order for it to be transmitted from person to person. In addition, since it can survive outside the human body for up to 36 hours, it can also be transmitted from items such as sofas, towels and bed linens used for a long time. Although scabies can be transmitted from person to person and from objects to people, it cannot be transmitted from animal to person. Scabies mites can be transmitted from animal to human; But since this type of mite is different from humans, it cannot live in humans and does not cause scabies.
How to Prevent Scabies?
Since scabies is a disease that can be transmitted from people and objects, people who are in crowded environments or institutions such as schools, military, prisons and nursing homes are at risk. In addition, children, the elderly and those with low immunity are at higher risk of contracting scabies. For this reason, it is necessary to be careful not to share personal belongings in public environments and not to have close contact unless necessary. It is especially important not to be in contact with people who have scabies or are suspected of having scabies. If scabies is seen in a family, the whole family should be checked and treated if necessary. In addition, the house should be thoroughly cleaned and towels, bedding and clothes should be washed at temperatures higher than 50 degrees. Because while the scabies mite lives at room temperature, it cannot survive for more than 10 minutes at temperatures above 50 degrees.
How to Diagnose Scabies?
Of course, not every persistent itching condition means that you have scabies. Since there are many diseases that cause itching, creams and home treatments for itching may fail. When there are symptoms similar to scabies, a doctor is examined and the diagnosis is made by the doctor. Treatments applied without diagnosis may be incorrect and may cause the disease to worsen rather than cure it. If the doctor deems it necessary during the examination, he displays the skin surface under light with dermatoscopic examination. Examination with a dermatoscope is a successful method used by dermatologists to diagnose various diseases. In some cases, a swab taken from the skin is examined under a microscope and the condition of mites and eggs is observed.
What are the symptoms that occur with scabies?
Disorders seen as a result of scabies cause both physical and psychological symptoms. Persistent itching, skin wear, crusting and wound formation are physically disturbing. A constant feeling of itching, the need to stay away from people, and the worry of infecting people can create psychological symptoms. Since scabies is a tiring disease both physically and mentally, it is necessary to see a doctor and get treatment as soon as possible. People who prolong the disease process by not receiving timely treatment may enter a pessimistic mood, as if they will never get rid of the itching feeling.
Since the treatment of scabies has a wide scope, what the doctor says must be followed precisely. Treatment is carried out not only by using appropriate medications, creams and lotions, but also by taking various precautions. From the moment the treatment begins, the living environment and used items are cleaned appropriately. When necessary, the people the patient lives with are also included in the treatment. When scabies is transmitted to other members of the family, it takes time for symptoms to appear, so other family members are asked to use lotions and creams, even if there are no symptoms. The creams and lotions used in the treatment are applied to the entire body from the neck down, except the head. Lotions and creams containing substances used in treatment such as permethrin and sulfur are generally applied in the evening and waited for at least 8 hours. In the morning and when the required time is up, you can take a shower.
Medicines used orally in the treatment of scabies are mostly aimed at treating the allergic reaction caused by scabies on the skin. Antihistamine medications, usually taken in the evening, help relieve the sensitivity and itching caused by scabies. Oral tablets that can be used directly in the treatment of scabies have only recently been introduced to the market and started to be used. Oral tablets, which kill the mites that cause scabies through nerve paralysis, are taken by the patient as a single dose. The number of tablets the patient needs to take according to his weight is used at a time, one after the other. If the symptoms are still not completely resolved after approximately 4 weeks of taking the tablet or tablets, a second treatment is applied based on weight. Tablet forms that treat scabies are not suitable for children under 15 kg and those with kidney disease.
If you are experiencing an itching disorder that does not go away and you do not know the cause, consult your doctor as soon as possible. This way, you can be treated before the disease progresses and the itching causes serious damage to your skin.