Scabies occurs due to a type of mites. Read on to learn about the various facts on how this disorder spreads and what it looks like.
Scabies is a word derived from Latin word scabere, which means scratch. It is a skin disorder which causes severe itching, that becomes worse at night. It can affect any person if the person comes either in skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, or comes in contact with personal items of a person who has it. Hence, if a person has scabies it is important to avoid coming in physical contact with the person and avoid using any belongings of the infected person.
How Do You Get Scabies Mites?
Scabies is caused by the sarcoptes scabiei, which is the human itch mite. The mites burrow under the human skin. The mites are small, eight-legged parasites and are so tiny that they are visible only under a microscope. They are just 1/3 millimeters long, and when they burrow under the skin a person gets severe itching. These mites of scabies in human can be seen crawling with the help of a microscope. However, these mites cannot fly or jump.
Scabies skin disorder occurs worldwide. This infection are common where there are lots and lots of people like hospitals, health care facilities, nursing homes, college dorms, classrooms, camps, and child care centers. In a crowded place, people are in close contact with each other, which is enough for the mites to move from skin to skin. These mites can only survive on a human host, if they don’t get a human host, they die within 2 – 3 days.
What’s the Life Cycle of the Mites?
The life cycle of the mites occurs in four stages, which is the egg, larva, nymph, and the adult stage. First females will deposit 2 – 3 eggs per day as they start burrowing under the skin, then eggs hatch in 3 – 4 days. Then larvae will migrate to the skin surface and burrow to create almost invisible short burrows, called molting pouches. After the larvae molt, the resulting nymphs have 4 pairs of legs. This form molts into larger nymphs and finally into adults. The adults mites then mate with each other. The male mates with the female once and leaves her fertile for the rest of her life. Then the female mites keep laying eggs, and thus giving birth to more mites.
Can You Get Scabies from Dogs/Cats?
It is not possible to get scabies from dogs/cats or other animals. One can get the infection only from the mites which infect human skin. The type of mites which infest dogs are called dog mange. Even if these mites are transferred to the human skin, they will cause a temporary itching sensation and after a while this will go away without causing any infection.
What Does Scabies Infection Look Like?
It causes severe itching, that gets worse during the night, and it also gives rashes. A person might also get sores or rash on the skin due to digging and scratching. The most prominent visible symptom of scabies are the burrows, which are thin serpentine lines, gray or skin color, these can be approximately a centimeter or more in length.
How to Treat Scabies
The treatment includes topical medicine like permethrin or sulfur creams. Many people also use natural scabies treatment methods which involve using neem oil or tea tree oil. Sometimes, the doctor will also prescribe antihistamines to provide relief from itching. Antihistamines will also help in sleeping.
In case you or somebody in your family gets the infection, then seek medical help for treating the scabies infection and keep the personal items of the person separate to avoid the spread of the infection.