Scabies Causes | Find out What Causes Scabies

Many people wonder what causes scabies. Well, in humans, scabies is caused by a mite known as the sarcoptes scabiei mite. That mite will burrow under the skin of its victims, which initiates an allergic reaction and severe itching.

The Sarcoptes Scabiei Mite

The sarcoptes scabiei mite tends to gravitate toward hairless sections of skin. Accordingly, they tend not to traverse beyond the neck. However, they will burrow on the faces and heads of children and babies; they’ll also burrow above the neckline on patients with severe cases of crusted scabies.

The Scabiei mite commonly affects the following areas:

  • The chest, around the nipples, and under the breasts of women.
  • The crevice between the forearm and the upper arm.
  • The genitals and buttocks.
  • The armpits
  • The wrists
  • Between the fingers and under the fingernails

Upon initial infection, it will typically take four to six weeks for patients to exhibit any symptoms of scabies, as there the body experiences a delayed reaction to the Scabiei mite.

Crusted Scabies

Crusted scabies, previously referred to as Norwegian scabies, is a considerably more severe form of scabies. There may be thousands, or even millions of mites present in cases of crusted scabies, compared to 10-12 mites in regular cases of scabies.

Immunocompromised individuals, such as people with AIDS, are susceptible to acquiring this virulent variety of scabies, as are older people.

How Do You Get Scabies?

In industrialized countries, people most commonly acquire scabies through sexual contact, or sometimes through close physical contact with an infected individual. Nurses who frequently deal with scabies patients, especially older patients who often require up-close-and-personal treatment, may also be exposed to the disease.

It is a myth that hygiene and scabies are associated with one another; if an individual acquires scabies, particularly in an industrialized country, it seldom has anything to do with hygiene.

In the developing world, where people live in much closer proximity to one and other, scabies can be acquired more easily. Simply by sharing a bed with an affected person may cause another person may become affected with scabies in a developing country (this would be very unlikely cause of scabies in the industrialized country).

People living in slum-like conditions are particularly susceptible to scabies.

Diagnosing Scabies

Scabies can be somewhat difficult to diagnose because there are a number of other skin affliction that present similar symptoms. Skin conditions that may be confused with scabies include: eczema, dermatitis, and tinea.

However, in certain cases, doctors may be able to discern the difference between scabies and these other affliction. At that point, the doctor may immediately begin a scabies treatment course.

In some cases, if the doctor is uncertain whether or not a patient has scabies, then the doctor may do skin scrapings around affected areas, and then check those scrapings under a microscope for scabies mites.

Scabies Treatment

Upon a scabies diagnosis, patients will then be prescribed with some kind of treatment for scabies, which will typically include the topical cream Permethrin. Other scabies treatments include: ivermechtin (especially for crusted scabies), benzyl bezonate, and sulfur. Ivermectin may also be used to treat pet scabies.

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