Scabies rash refers to an itchy skin disorder which is caused by a small burrowing mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. Individuals affected by scabies rash experience extreme itchiness in the region that consists of the mite’s burrows. The desire to scratch the affected areas is particularly strong at nighttime.
Scabies rash is a very contagious skin condition. It tends to spread rapidly via close physical contact with the affected person. Families, schools, child care centers, and nursing homes are particularly vulnerable. Since scabies rash is very contagious, health care providers will often recommend treatment of the full family as well as the frequent contact groups, so as to completely get rid of the mite.
Scabies rash can be easily treated. Topical medications used on the affected areas destroy the mites as well as their eggs. The itchiness may however persist for a few weeks after treatment.
Symptoms of scabies rash
A few signs and symptoms of scabies rash are as follows:
- Itchiness which can be quite severe. It often aggravates during the night
- Irregular, thin burrow tracks consisting of tiny bumps or blisters may appear on the skin
The tracks or the burrows generally occur in the creases of the skin. Scabies rash can affect any section of the body. However, a case of scabies rash in adults typically affect the below listed areas:
- Between the fingers
- Around the waist
- Inside armpits
- Along the inner parts of wrists
- On the soles of the feet
- On the inner section of elbows
- Around the breasts
- On the buttocks
- Around the genital region in males
- On the shoulder blades
- On the knees
In case of children, some of the common body parts affected by scabies rash include the following:
- The face
- The scalp
- The neck
- The soles of the feet
- The palms of the hands
Since scabies rash causes extreme itchiness, patients may scratch incessantly to find relief. Excessive scratching can cause the skin to tear and break away leaving an open wound. Such open wounds are then vulnerable to secondary skin infections by bacteria and other microbes, which in turn require additional treatment.
Causes of scabies rash
- The mite that causes scabies rash is an eight legged creature. It is microscopic in nature. The female mite tunnels to just below the surface of the skin and creates a burrow where it lays the eggs. These eggs hatch within 3 to 4 days. The mite larvae then make their way to the skin surface, where they become adult mites. From here they migrate to other parts of the body or to the skin of other individuals. The itchiness associated with scabies rash is caused due to the allergic reaction of the body to the eggs, the mites, as well as their waste.
- The scabies rash mites can spread via close physical contact with an infected individual. In rare cases, sharing of personal items such as towels, bedding, etc. can also result in the migration of the mites.
- Humans, cats, dogs get infected by specific kinds of scabies mites. Each of these mite species tend to feed off only one type of host, and usually cannot live in the bodies of non-preferred hosts. Therefore, human beings will only suffer from a temporary case of scabies rash from animal mites. Full-fledged cases of scabies rash in humans can only develop due to contact with those mite species that prefer humans as their host.
A more severe form of scabies rash known as crusted scabies can affect certain highly vulnerable groups of people. They include:
- The elderly who are living in nursing homes
- Individuals who are chronically ill, such as those who have been in nursing centers or hospitals for prolonged periods
- Individuals with diseases that impair the immune system; like chronic leukemia or HIV infection
It may be noted that crusted scabies can resulted in scaly and crusted skin and affect large sections of the body. It is a difficult condition to treat and is extremely contagious.
Treatment of scabies rash
- Scabies rash can be treated with the use of topical medications which aid in the elimination of the mites and the eggs. There are different types of lotions and creams which can be used to treat scabies mite infestation.
- Patients have to apply the topical medications from neck down all over the body. It has to be left on for at least eight hours.
- Patients who experience newer cases of scabies rash or burrows will need to undergo a second stage of scabies rash treatment.
- It is important for patients to consult a doctor before opting for a particular scabies rash medication. Some of the popular medicines for treating scabies rash include Lindane, Permethrin 5 percent or Elimite, and Crotamiton or Eurax.
- Individuals with compromised immune system who are suffering from crusted scabies are prescribed the intake of oral drug ivermectin. Doctors will also prescribe the drug to other patients of crusted scabies who are not responding to normal anti-scabies topical medications.
Pictures of Scabies Rash
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