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Scabies Rash - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Scabies Rash - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

A highly contagious infection, scabies is caused when microscopic mites enter the skin. Typically characterized by an intense and itchy rash, scabies can be troublesome and embarrassing. This article has details on what causes scabies, its symptoms, and ways to treat it.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 10, 2018
Red and itchy blisters on the skin are often dismissed as a simple rash or an insect bite. When such blisters are spotted on specific areas of the body, it may seem a little alarming.

The scabies skin infection, being very contagious, is easily spread among humans through physical contact. It has been known to affect a large number of people worldwide, irrespective of age, location, and standards of personal hygiene.
Symptoms of Scabies Rash
Scabies is recognized by a characteristic rash that appears at specific areas on the body. An interesting feature of this rash is that the symptoms may not manifest until a few weeks after the infestation occurs. Once the symptoms become apparent, the itching can be persistent, and causes a lot of distress. It can be especially troublesome at night, and invariably disturbs the affected person's sleeping pattern.
Skin burrows
Skin rash
Symptoms of Scabies in Adults
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Scabies is marked by itchy blisters that may appear on -
  • Webbing between the fingers and toes
  • Nether region
  • Breast/Chest
  • Fold of the wrist
  • Fold of the elbow
  • Underarm region
  • Lower buttocks
  • Ankles and soles of the feet
  • Shoulders
  • Behind the knees
Symptoms of Scabies in Children
In case of children, the scabies rash may prominently appear on -
  • Face
  • Scalp
  • Neck
  • Palms
  • Soles
Causative Factors
Scabies infection
How Does Scabies Spread?
A common misunderstanding is that scabies is caused due to unhygienic living conditions. It also does not proliferate through brief physical contact such as a handshake. It can spread by the following actions -
  • Prolonged physical contact with an infected person.
  • Sexual intercourse with an infected person.
  • Sharing clothing and bedding with an infected person.
It is important to note that humans cannot contract scabies from their pets. This is because the mite that causes scabies in pets is different, and does not affect humans in a similar manner. However, it may cause a certain degree of itching and discomfort. It is important that you have your infected pet treated as soon as possible.
Life Cycle of Scabies Mites
▣ Scabies is caused by a parasite called Sarcoptes scabiei.

▣ It is the female mite that latches on to human skin and begins to make a burrow on the surface. The male mites then enter these burrows. The male mites die after mating, and the female mites lay eggs in the burrows, around 3-4 days later.

▣ After hatching, it takes around 2 weeks for the mites to turn into adults, and repeat the life cycle.

▣ If left untreated, the life cycle of the scabies mites can carry on indefinitely.

▣ The severe itching sensation is the result of the immune system's reaction to the mite's presence on our body, particularly to its saliva, larvae, and feces.
Ways to Treat Scabies
Tennis elbow with blue bandage
To begin with, it is important to learn how to prevent contracting scabies. Being a highly contagious disease, people who visit hospitals and nursing homes may be at a risk of contracting the infection. Children may pass on the infection to their peers at daycare centers or in schools. Even those living in crowded confines may be susceptible to scabies. Sexually active people are also at a higher risk.

The doctor can detect the infection by examining the rash on the affected person's body. At times, a skin sample may be taken for further confirmation. Once detected, the doctor may prescribe the following course of treatment -
  • Topical applications like Nix, Elimite, or Scabene may be prescribed. It needs to be applied all over the body, and washed after 10-12 hours.
  • To get relief from the persistent itching, the doctor may prescribe antihistamine tablets.
  • High standards of hygiene are to be followed at all times. The infected person's clothing and bedding must be washed separately, and in hot water.
  • The doctor may recommend extending the treatment to other people living in the same house as the affected person.
It is always recommended to maintain high standards of hygiene and exercise caution to prevent scabies. Ensure that you seek medical attention at the earliest signs of a scabies rash. Following the doctor's instructions explicitly will prevent the infection from spreading.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.
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