Scabies is an intensely itchy skin condition caused by a tiny burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies is incredibly contagious, and it can easily spread through physical contact in family members, a child care facility, school, or nursing home. The tiny mite that burrows into the skin causes intense itching in the area of its borrows, and contact with these areas of skin can allow the mite to “jump” onto another person’s skin and begin burrowing there. Scabies is typically very readily treated through topical medication that kills the mites and their eggs. Because of the contagious nature of scabies, entire families or contact groups are typically treated in order to prevent another breakout from occurring.
Extreme itching is the most common sign of scabies, and this itching is typically worse at night. Thin “tracks” on the skin that are made up of tiny blisters or bumps are also normal, indicating that mites are burrowing through the skin. These burrow tracks are typically found in the folds of the skin with these areas being most prone to scabies:
- Along the inside of the wrists
- Between the fingers
- Inner elbow
- In armpits
- Around the waist
- Under the breasts
- Crotch area
- Between the buttocks
- On the knees
- On the soles of the feet
- Folds of the neck
In those who have never been exposed to scabies, symptoms may take up to six weeks to develop. Even without obvious symptoms of scabies, it is still possible to spread this infection to others. If you have any signs that may indicate scabies, it is important to seek medical intervention right away. Other skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and infection can be made worse or can be brought on by the intense itching and scratching associated with scabies.
At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we are here for all of your skin care needs. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.