Scabies Facts and How to Detect the Meddlesome Mite

Scabies are contracted from skin to skin contact with an infested person. Most commonly, scabies are usually caught from prolonged handholding because the hand is the usually the first part of the body affected by scabies. Usually an individual needs to be in physical contact with an infested person for about 20 minutes in order to contract scabies.

The irritating rash associated with scabies is caused by an allergic reaction to their bite, saliva, and feces. This rash can appear as small pimples, blisters, bug bites or scabs. Doctors usually look for the tunnels or burrows of scabies within the skin in order to diagnose scabies since the mite itself is microscopic.

Scabies are usually treated with a Permethrin based medication, such as Kwellada-P® Lotion. This lotion is absorbed into the skin and should be concentrated on high risk areas for scabies such as the webbing of fingers, palms of hands, armpits, inside of elbows, and other sensitive areas.

Crusted scabies is a severe form of scabies and results in crusts building up on the skin that easily fall away. This type of scabies may require more intensive treatment as the infestation can consist of 1000s of mites rather than the usual ten to twenty mites. People with weakened immune systems are especially at risk for crusted scabies and it is extremely contagious. It is more common that crusted scabies are spread through towels and linens because scabies can survive for days away from a human host.

It is important that people sharing a household or coming in contact with an infested person are treated as well even if there are no obvious signs that they have contracted scabies. This is done in order to discourage the spread of the mite and reinfestation.

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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.