5 Signs of Scabies You Should Be Aware of

Abnormal skin conditions can be a frustrating and worrisome for everyone. Ailments like scabies can be hard to self diagnose. In fact, many people do not know exactly what scabies is. Put simply, scabies is an extremely itchy, contagious skin condition caused by a small tunneling or burrowing mite. 

  1. Intense itching that is worse at night. This itching is caused by the skin’s reaction to the mite saliva. It can take a few weeks for itching to occur as the skin slowly reacts. If an individual has had scabies before, their skin reacts more quickly and itching can begin in just a few days.

  2. A skin rash that resembles small insect bites, blisters, or small scales and scabs. In adults, this rash is usually found between the fingers, in armpits, the inside of the wrist, inner elbow, the soles of the feet, knees, shoulder blades and other areas. In infants and young children, the scalp, face, neck, palms of hands, and soles of feet are usually affected.

  3. An s-shaped burrow under the skin. This burrow or tunnel is caused by the mite moving through the skin. These borrows are usually found on areas such as the webbing of fingers and toes but are small enough to be accidently overlooked. The female mite lays her eggs in these burrows.

  4. Aggravated existing skin conditions. Scabies can further irritate existing skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. In addition, scabies is more difficult to diagnose in these situations as the signs of it become less obvious. If an individual has other skin conditions as well as scabies it is best to visit a health care professional to discuss treatment and prevention options.

  5. Crusts on the skin. More severe infestations of scabies are sometimes called crusted scabies or Norwegian scabies. This type of scabies is usually found in people with weakened immune systems. A crust is formed on the skin where the mite travels and feeds. People with crusted scabies often have 100’s or 1000’s of scabies mites infesting their body versus about the 10-20 mites that are common in regular scabies.

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Simple Tips for Prevention

  • Teach Good Habits. Personal belongings such as brushes, hats, and towels can pass lice. So don't share.
  • Be Aware of Shared Spaces. Keep personal items (hats, coats, etc) out of common areas.  
  • Avoid Outbreaks. If you know of an outbreak, avoid locations where head-to-head contact would occur like sporting activities.