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Scabies is an irritating and itchy condition of the skin that is caused by what is known as Sarcoptes Scabiei. This is a tiny burrowing mite that burrows into the skin causing intense itching in whatever area it has burrowed under. Many people who are suffering from the presence of scabies feel an increase in the itch during the night. It is vitally essential to note that this is a contagious skin problem that can spread quite quickly from person to person especially in close-contact situations such as families and nursing homes. Because scabies is so easily contagious, physicians often recommend that everyone living with the infected party undergo treatment in order to completely eliminate the presence of the mite without a risk of further contamination.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications of Scabies

The mite responsible for the cause of scabies is actually microscopic. The female mite will burrow down into the skin creating a tunnel where it can deposit its eggs. It only takes between three and four days for the eggs to hatch, and then the larvae will resurface where they can mature and then spread across the skin to other areas. Because of the quick hatching and maturation process, this is a highly contagious skin infection.

Scabies is most often spread through close physical contact. It can also sometimes be spread through the sharing of bedding or clothing with someone who has been infected. The most common complication associated with scabies is a secondary bacterial infection known as Impetigo, though there are other secondary infections that can occur. Crusted scabies can also occur, which is a much more severe infection that can affect people in nursing homes and people with weakened immune systems. Crusted scabies is more contagious and can cover significantly larger portions of the body. Because scabies is so contagious, seeking medical assistance is absolutely essential to treating it promptly and completely.

Signs, Symptoms and Tests forScabies

Patients of Scabies may be able to see burrow tracks on the skin comprised of small bumps or blisters in thin lines. The burrows are most commonly going to appear in the folds of the skin, though they can occur nearly anywhere on the body including in the armpits, around the waist, between the fingers and along the insides of the wrists, on the knees and buttocks, on the shoulder blades, around the breasts and on the soles of the feet. In children, scabies burrows are most commonly found on the scalp, face and neck, palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

An examination will begin with the physician looking at the patients skin to find signs of the mites or their burrow tracks. A scraping may need to be taken from the area of a mite burrow in order to examine the results under a microscope. Microscopic examination is required in order to detect the presence of mites or eggs, so that a diagnosis of scabies can be confirmed.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Scabies

Medication is required in order to eliminate the infestation of scabies mites. There are a number of lotions and creams available that must be applied to the entire body in order to eliminate the problem. Anyone who comes in contact with the patient should also be treated for scabies because they can be transmitted so easily from one person to the next. The most common treatment options for scabies include Crotamiton or Eurax, Lindane and Permethrin 5 percent or Elimite.