What are Scabies?
These lectures are not meant to replace your physician and are simply provided as a free educational service to all our visitors. If you feel that you have a skin problem, please see your doctor.
WHAT IS IT?
Scabies is a highly contagious skin disease due to a tiny insect-like creature called the ITCH MITE. This mite crawls under the top layer of the skin of the infected person. The presence of this crawling mite under the skin, the waste products of this creature, and the eggs it lays under the skin cause severe itching ... particularly at night.
After a few weeks of the disease, an allergy to the MITE or its eggs and waste products develops leading to a rash with itching all over the body. The itching of scabies is among the most severe of any skin disorder.
The rash is seen between the fingers, at the wrists, the sides of the arms and legs, near the armpits, around the nipples, belly button and the area of the genitals.
THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS OF SCABIES IS TO OBTAIN SKIN SCRAPINGS, EXAMINE THEM MICROSCOPICALLY, AND IDENTIFY THE PRESENCE OF MITES, EGGS, OR THE FECES OF THE ORGANISM. THIS IS A REQUIREMENT BEFORE TREATING WITH SCABICIDES WHICH ARE TOXIC CHEMICALS!
1. SCABICIDES (MITE Killing Chemicals) are agents which are applied to the entire skin surface to kill the ITCH MITE and its eggs. These agents are not for the "RASH" you have, but to kill the creature under your skin that is causing the rash. Using it on the area of the rash alone to "SOOTHE" the itching skin is not effective and even dangerous.
2. Because your own clothing and bed clothing can hide the mite and its eggs, you can easily be reinfected from these sources. ALL such clothing MUST be laundered in HOT water and IRONED. Dry cleaning fluids also are effective in sterilizing garments which need to be cleaned by that method.
3. ANY PERSON with whom you have had close personal contact could also be infected and will need to be treated with the scabicide or they could reinfect you over and over again.
Anytime severe itching persists, use a product that is formulated in a soothing, emollient base, such as Sarna Lotion - an excellent anti-itch lotion that will provide immediate relief of itchy skin. Sarna contains 0.5% each of camphor and menthol to provide the immediate sensation of a cool anti itch lotion. In those conditions that are characterized by chronic and recurrent itchy skin, Sarna Lotion provides the relief to calm the irritating and antagonizing symptom of itch.