What is the scabies rash and what do you need to do when it appears?
Scabies is an infestation of the skin with tiny parasites, or mites, called Sarcoptes scabiei. This infection is very contagious and it causes a lot of itching that can sometimes be unbearable, especially if it keeps appearing during the night time.
Scabies needs immediate treatment because the females lay eggs under the skin as soon as they get on it, so you may discover that you are covered by hundreds of mites if you don't do anything about it. The mites are attracted by the human body and they get on it as soon as they have the chance. Furthermore, scabies is very contagious, it can be transmitted from one person to another just by touching them or using a towel or piece of clothing used by them. Scabies can spread very quickly in large public institutions such as hospitals, schools, prisons, or in the army, so the risks of getting scabies can be pretty high for many. More than 200 million cases of scabies are encountered each year worldwide.
The first symptom that appears after the scabies infection is a red itchy rash on the skin. The itching varies in intensity and it's usually much worse at night. The rash first appears on the hands (mostly on the skin between the fingers), on the feet, or on the wrists and elbows. It then spreads to the waist, genitalia and on the chest. At most people this rash looks like tiny red dots, or pimples.
The scabies rash and other symptoms are an allergic reaction of the skin to the mites and their waste. It usually appears a few weeks after the mite infestation, but you are contagious even if no symptoms appeared yet.
The treatment for scabies must begin as soon as it is diagnosed and all the members of the family must take part in it, because the ones living with an infected person are most likely infected too. The treatment is easy and it can be done with creams and lotions that kill the mites and their eggs. Also the clothing of those with scabies must be carefully washed in hot water and preferably stored in a place for a few days until any scabies that are still in it die of starvation.
The treatment is very effective in killing all the mites and their eggs so there's nothing to worry about if you've started it. The important thing is to consult a doctor as soon as you've noticed the scabies rash on your skin.
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