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Scabies is a contagious skin infestation commonly called the itch. It is caused by mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These parasites which are about 1/50th of an inch long live in the outer layer of the skin. The female excavates a burrow in which she lays two or three eggs a day. The eggs hatch a few days later and the baby mites make their way to the skin surface, continuing the re-infestation process. The mite is acquired through body contact with an infected person or with contaminated clothing, towels or bed linens.
Correct diagnosis of scabies is made by inspecting the skin for the characteristic tunnels. The doctor usually removes the mite for microscopic verification. Treatment involves a hot bath, a thorough scrubbing, and the application of a special lotion or cream to the entire body from the neck down. The medication may be left there for whole day. This process is repeated until all symptoms disappear. How do you actually catch scabies?
Cause # 1: Scratching.
The burrowing of the mites leaves little raised gray streaks on the skin that end in a blister near which the mite can be seen as a tiny dot. Favored parts of the body are the wrists, elbows, webs between the fingers, the navel, lower abdomen, genitals and the cleft between the buttocks. In about a week, intense itching begins, especially when the body is warm and at night. This skin has by now developed a hypersensitivity to the mites. Scratching, especially during sleep, causes the rash to spread. Scratching scabies causes lesions that can become the site for such bacterial infection as impetigo.
Cause #2: Contamination from surroundings.
Scabies can be caught through skin to skin contact since the mites are fascinated to both heat and smell that is why they easily propagate and shift from skin to skin in just a matter of minute. The life span of the mites depends on the host. Normally, mites can survive up to five days off-host, but their ability to infect is only one to two days.
Cause #3: Hugging somebody.
If you hug or embrace anybody that has scabies, particularly if your skin happens to get in contact with an infected skin for a long time, you will most likely get contaminated with scabies too.
Cause #4: Sexual contact.
If you have sexual contact with a person infected with scabies, you will acquire the disease because of prolonged skin contact with your partner.
Cause #5: Visiting persons with scabies.
Prolonged visit to a person with scabies will enable you to catch the infection since the mites causing scabies can move freely without you noticing it.
You will not get infected by animal scabies unlike the scabies from humans. Scabies from animals will not flourish on human’s skin. Re-infestation and the infection of others by scabies can be prevented only thorough laundering (preferably by boiling) of bed linens, towels, and clothing. Medications should be used by those members of the family who may have caught either of the parasitic diseases but have not yet experienced active symptoms. Body contact of any kind should be strictly avoided until all signs of the parasites disappear. That way you will not acquire scabies or get scabies.