Is Scabies Causing My Rash?

Scabies is the skin disease caused by an insect known as the “Human Itch Mite” (or more formally, Sarcoptes scabiei). The mite digs its way into the upper layers of skin where it lays eggs and can begin causing itching and pain of the skin. The mite can also leave a pimple-like rash on the infected area and even sores (unknown as burrows). It often takes weeks for a person to feel the effects of scabies, but it should be dealt with as soon as possible.

How would I get scabies?

Scabies is passed by someone who is infected with the mite. It takes more than a brief touching to be effected by scabies, but contact with those that you live with or through sexual activity are common modes of transmission. Mites can also spread by sharing personal items such as sheets, towels, and other grooming products. Common places for passing of scabies include households, dorms, gyms, nursing homes, and other close contact facilities.

How long do mites live for?

The scabies mite can live as long as 2 months, laying eggs during the time embedded in the skin. Although the mites will eventually die, their eggs hatch and their offspring will continue the infestation.

How would I be diagnosed?

“The morphology, or specific distribution and appearance of the skin rash is usually what tips us off that scabies can be the underlying cause of a patient’s skin condition” notes Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist in Austin, TX. “Still, we need to confirm the diagnosis with a special test that can detect the mites, or their eggs, in the skin.” The best way to be sure of any skin issues is to visit your Dermatologist. There can be various reasons for discoloration, itching, and rashes, so it is best to find out what is effecting you to treat it correctly and effectively.

How do I treat Scabies?

In order to rid oneself of scabies they must be prescribed a “scabicide”, a lotion or cream, that is applied to the entire body to kill the mites and eggs. The treatment is often repeated every week  for one to two weeks to ensure both the mites and their offspring are effectively treated. “I also often suggest that close contacts be evaluated for mites and, potentially, be treated for mites as well,” says Dr. Mamelak. “As with infestations like lice, you want to rid the mites from all areas of potential contact.”

Crusted Scabies

There is also a more exuberant version of scabies know as Crusted Scabies. This is signified by large crusted portions of the skin that can be filled with the scabies mites, as well as eggs. This type of scabies is common in those who have compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, those with illnesses, and those with HIV.

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If you are concerned about a rash or discoloration in your skin, please contact us today. Our experience physicians are trained in the topical treatments to optimize your health and well being.

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