Scabies – Easy to Catch, Easy to Cure

Scabies is caused by mites and is characterized by a skin infection which is extremely itchy and irritating. Antiparasitic lotion used as per the directions is normally all that is needed to cure this condition.

The mites that cause scabies are very tiny and lay their eggs underneath your skin by burrowing and creating a tunnel to use for this purpose. This is the area where all stages of the life cycle of the mite take place. The female dies after laying her eggs but the eggs hatch into larvae. These eat their way out of the burrow to the surface of the skin where they mature into adults. This process may take several days and it is during this period that they can easily transfer to other people if they come near enough.

They are usually spread by personal contact, such as sharing a bed. When the mites have matured, they mate, the male dies, and the female continues breeding to propagate the infection. The whole cycle, from eggs to the maturation of fresh mites, takes about two weeks.

The first signs normally appear on the hands and wrists where the females make their burrows. However, they can sometimes make their burrows on the elbows, feet, ankles, genital areas, and nipples. It is rare for them to begin their burrows on the chest and back, or the head. The burrows are normally evidenced by thin reddish-brown lines.

Sometimes it is only after the larvae have hatches that the person even notices a problem. At this point, the body may develop an allergic reaction to the burrowing and a red, blotchy rash appears. This is accompanied by severe itching which leads ot intense scratching. This in turn, can cause a bacterial infection from the bleeding. Treatment is needed to protect the skin from further damage.

A person suffering from scabies is usually quick to seek medical assistance as the irritation is extremely intense, to the point where the person’s quality of life is seriously impaired. Because the itching is even more severe at night, sleep patterns suffer and the person is continuously tired. The skin, by this stage, is a mess of burrows, allergic reactions, and scratch marks. The diagnosis is confirmed by examining the mite under a magnifying glass after extracting it from the skin.

Treatment is normally fast and effective, usually consisting of treatment with a benzyl benzoate or gamma benzene hexachloride lotion. This type of treatment kills the mites on the surface of the skin and the symptoms will then subside.

Another treatment is sulfur in petroleum and is commonly used on people with a sensitive skin or on babies. The treatment needs to be left on the skin for some time as these mites are extremely hardy. The allergic reaction can be harder to cure and can linger on after the scabies have been cured.

Anyone who has been in close contact with an infected person should be treated. In the dormant period between infection and the development of symptoms, fresh mites may be released before the newly infected contact has been treated, so everyone in the family or household should be treated.

The main complications from scabies are secondary bacterial skin infections from scratching. Sometimes, if a person’s general resistance to infection is low, there may be heavy infestations of mites which can lead to outbreaks.

5 comments

  1. Magda Reply
    April 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Only someone who never has come close to scabies can name an article "easy to cure". We are fighting resistant scabies here in my family for more than 40 days. Everything has been disinfected, washed, aspired, sprayed with insecticide. We have taken ivermectin, permethrin lotions, every treatment available, and it just simply comes back every time. I suggest you revise your standards.

    • Jill Reply
      July 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      I cannot believe this article!!!! Kick us while we are down! It is the most absurd thing to say that scabies is easy to treat! I have suffered for over two years and have made a FULL TIME JOB, literally not being able to carry on any kind of normal life with the added cleaning and laundry and stress and lack of sleep and total isolation from the man I love and my children! These things are totally resistant to Benzyl Benzoate, Permethrin, Eurax, Sulphur, Ivermectin, Moxidectin, you name it. Neem is a joke. Moringa is a joke. Tea Tree is a joke. Drinking Borax is a joke, topical Borax on skin is a joke, Moxidectin is a joke and very dangerous. I have taken and used all of these in combination and for years in a regimented fashion, following Australia’s healthy skin protocol. I have moved over 4 times hoping to end the infestations. I am down to a cot I wash every day, 4 items of bedding (sleep on a rolled towel) so I can soak in Permethrin and dry to death on high heat every day, and am taking so much internal garlic I’d scare away any vampire. I bomb and vacuum my car every few days, rode my bike everywhere for 5 months and would not get in a car because of fear of re-infestation… Seriously people, please actually do your research by talking to real people instead of some old outdated textbook that is grossly inaccurate.

      Real people with real lives and major losses due to this mite are suffering greatly! I am sooooo sorry if you are one of them, and all we can do is try to maintain some semblance of normalcy and love in our life. I have barely been touched by another human being in over two years, much less sat on anything remotely comfortable like a couch or bed – I stand everywhere I go, do not go to movies, sit on the hard floor at my house, and sleep on a cot mattress triple wrapped in plastic I wipe down with vinegar and essential oils every time I touch it.

  2. Magdeline Reply
    May 19, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Frustratingly inaccurate. It is very, very, very difficult to get rid of Scabies. I'd rate it nearly impossible. They have become immune to most all treatments except natural ones. And those don't seem strong enough. People have these things for months and years. If you've never had Scabies, you shouldn't be writing an article on them, I mean what was your point in writing this? To inform? And where exactly did you get such "helpful" information? Because it wasn't helpful at all. It was dead wrong!

  3. KATIE Reply
    March 29, 2016 at 11:47 am

    First of all I definitely do not agree with the title. I have had this since the middle of December and it is now almost April. I've lost my job I haven't been able to sleep and all of my time is dedicated 2 trying to kill something I can barely see. This is a horrible horrible condition. I bombed my house multiple times got a new car used all types of treatment and right when I think I finally fixed it it comes back. The only thing I've found that helps a little is spraying tree oil and neem oil around the house and there is a cradle cap treatment that they seem not to like I've taken multiple vinegar bath which help a little also been taking probiotics and vitamins. This problem can actually make you feel like you're going crazy from all the lack of sleep. There is no easy fix but for cleaning purposes I found that enzyme cleaners work the best. Good luck to all those out there who are fighting the same thing that I am stay strong.

  4. Thomas Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Treating scabies is a two part process. First, the scabacide, either pay $50 a tube for rx, or get 10% permethrin from tractor supply, dilute to 5% with a mild lotion and apply. Second, over the next week, when the scabies bodies die, they create a secondary infection (also from person scratching) that is streptococcus, best treated with bactroban but common triple antibiotic salve will do.

    Sometimes a second permethrin treatment is needed.

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