Scabies rash is very contagious skin condition caused by a small mite. The mite cannot be seen with the naked eye but through a magnifying glass or under a microscope. The mite requires a human host so that it can survive and this is why you find that it cannot live for more than 3 days without a human host. When it enters a human skin, it can survive up to a month. When in human skin, the mite lays eggs, which hatch and grow to adult mites.
The rash is very itchy and but is can also be subtle. The mite is spread through body contact with a person who has been infested with these parasites. Scabies affects anyone regardless of social class, race, personal hygiene habits, gender or age. The condition is more prevalent in congested areas like hospitals and nursing homes. People who have compromised immune function are likely to suffer a serious form of this conditions like crusted scabies rashes.
Similarly, malnourished persons may also have high susceptibility to the condition. Scabies rashes may be confused with other skin conditions such as bed bug bites, chigger bites and lice bites. People with weak immune system or those who are malnourished can suffer a syndrome called crusted scabies, which is characterized by thick and scaly skin. Other skin conditions, which may be confused with scabies rash, are eczema, shingles, ringworms and impetigo.
Causes of scabies
Scabies rash is caused by a mite that is less than half-millimeter long. The mite burrows into the skin and begins its life cycle. In the skin, it lays eggs, which hatch into larvae, and this takes about 3 to 10 days. The larvae molt and become nymphs, which in turn develop to adult mites. The adult mites lay eggs and survive for about a month. The itching is caused by burrowing and movement of the mites. This is usually an allergic response to the burrowing activity of the mites in the skin.
During the first infestation, a person may not show symptoms up to about six weeks and this is because the body’s immune systems has not identified and develop an immune response. However, for people who have previously been infested with these parasite, they develop symptoms within a few days. Scabies can be caused through casual contact, sexual contact or by sharing of clothing and beddings.
Scabies does not spread through animals like pets and this is because these animals host a different species of the mite. During sexual intercourse, the skin transmission leads to infestation by these mites in the groin area.
Symptoms of scabies rash
A person infested with scabies-causing mite will develop signs within 2 to 4 weeks. A person who has not been infested with the condition way take longer to develop symptoms. The symptoms include continuous severe itch and this is more at night. If another member of your family is experiencing the same itchy condition, this may be an indication of scabies.
Scabies rash looks like an insect bite and may develop lesions that resemble a pimple. Because of itching, a person will scratch the skin and this leads to redness and development of sores. If the sores or lesions open up due to scratching, they may cause secondary bacterial infection. On the skin, you can see a visible burrow that looks like a short S track and this indicates the movement of the mite in the skin.
Averagely, a person has about five to ten mites in body in any one particular time. Because the mite burrows may be small to see, this means that you may have the rash and itching but no visible burrow signs or tracks. The condition affects area such as elbows, waist, buttocks, fingers and toes or other areas where there is folding of the skin.
Scabies rash is diagnosed through description of the symptoms. However, since the rash may mimic other conditions like eczema or allergic reactions like hives or impetigo, a thorough examination may be required. A doctor may request for a sample of the infested skin by scraping the affected area by putting a drop of oil or saline on top of the infested area not to cause damage. The sample is placed under microscope for further investigation.
Treatment of scabies rash
Medication is essential when managing scabies rash. This is because you cannot cure scabies condition without using prescription drugs or other medications. However, self care at home is very important. A person infested by mites that cause scabies rash can use anti-itching medication to help relieve the irritation on skin.
Permethrin 5 percent cream may be effective in treating the rash. Crusted scabies may be difficult to treat and require a combination of medication including lotions, creams and pills. House members need to be treated at the same time. If there is secondary bacterial infection due to exposed skin, then antibiotics may be used to kill the bacteria.
Scabies rash pictures