What is scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation of a microscopic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. When your skin gets exposed to these mites they start living and reproducing on the surface of your skin by burrowing into it. As a result, red itchy rashes and bumps start appearing on the skin.

Scabies is a highly contagious infection so if you suspect that you may have it you must immediately consult Dermatologists in Dr. Ziauddin Hospital.

How is scabies caused?

Since scabies is a highly contagious infection it spreads through direct skin touch with a person who is suffering from scabies. It can also be transmitted if a person comes in contact with towels, furniture, bedding or clothing items that may be infected by the scabies causing mites.

These mites are 8 legged tiny creatures that can’t be seen with naked eye but you can surely feel the effect of their presence on your skin after these mites start laying their eggs on your skin and your skin starts reacting to their waste and eggs.

Scabies may spread very fast in hostels, old age homes and other similar places where many people live closely.

What are the symptoms of scabies?

If a person gets exposed to scabies, symptoms will start appearing approximately 6 weeks after the exposure. Some common symptoms of scabies are:

  • Severe itching on different parts of the body (the itching gets worse at night because the mites are extremely active at night)
  • Blisters or bumps on the skin

Scabies usually occurs between the fingers, inside the wrists, around the breasts or penis, inner side of elbows, soles of the feet, on the buttocks, knees, scalp and palms of the hands.

How is scabies diagnosed?

Symptoms from scabies are quite similar to other skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, or reaction from clothing or drug so you must see a Dermatologist in Karachi if you suspect that you might have scabies. To make the diagnosis your physician will take a close look at your skin to see if you have burrows. If they see a burrow they will collect a scraping of your skin from that particular area and study it under a microscope. If they see mites, their eggs, or feces in the collected sample they will start your treatment for scabies right away.

Scabies can never go away on its own, even if you don’t have any severe symptoms you can still spread it to others. So it is wise to consult a physician and use the ointments and lotions that they prescribe.

How can scabies be treated?

The treatment for scabies involves the application of topical ointments and lotions on the entire body except your face. You are supposed to let the lotion sit on your skin for at least 8 to 10 hours. Generally doctors ask patients to apply the ointments and lotions at night because that’s when the mites are most active. You can wash the lotion away the other morning.

If your scabies has become severe or has spread on the entire body you will be prescribed oral or topical antibiotics to treat it. Initially when the treatment begins most patients report that their symptoms get worse but within a period of 2 to 3 days you will start seeing a difference and your skin will go back to being completely normal within 4 weeks.