Scabies is the term referring to the parasitic infection of human skin by Scabies Mites. Scabies are tiny mites that burrow into the upper layers of skin where they live and lay eggs. The mites excertions and fecal matter cause intense itching and scratching. Due to the intense itching, many people will scratch uncontrollably, break the skin and lead to secondary bacterial infections. This is commonly know as Impetigo or a staph infection. Scabies is highly contagious and transmitted by direct, prolonged, skin to skin contact with someone who has scabies.
Scabies is generally identified by doing a skin scaping and viewing under a microscope. The illustration below shows where scabies commonly occur in people. You should look for scabies tracks or raised burrows that resemble irregular tiny grayish-white or skin colored line along the skin surface like the example to the left..
Early Scabies rash symptoms will most often show up as:
- pimples with little red bumps like hives
- tiny bites that resemble insect bites(see scabies bite photos)
- Chest / Under Breasts
- Skin under Jewlery and Watches
- Belt Line
- Inner Thigh
- Genital Area
How to Treat Scabies
The CDC does not recommend any self treatment for scabies. The CDC recommends going to Doctor, getting diagnosed, and obtaining a prescription of Permithrin cream. This may pose a challenge to many. Scabies has often formed resistance to current medications. Some drugs actually cause reactions that mimic scabies.
Specialized surfactants (soaps) and certain essential oils can effectively remove and neutralize the irritations of excretions and fecal matter left by scabies mites and thus giving immediate relief of the severe itching. Using a mild abasive exfoliator will help slough off outer layers of old skin exposing burrows and severe itch causing deposits.
Severe scratching often associated with the itching caused by scabies can and often does result in a skin rash called puritus. This rash is infected with a secondary bacterial infection that must be treated
Fortunately, most scabies infestations are limited to approx. 10 to 15 scabies mites per person, except in the case of Crusted or Norwegian scabies that live in large numbers under a thick crusted patch on your skin.
Scabies is found in every corner of the world and affects every class of people. Prisons, nursing homes, hostels, and group shelters are often nesting places for scabies.
Prevent a Scabies Reinfestation by Cleaning Your Environment Daily
A scabies mite can live up to 72 hours without a host to feed on. Scabies mites also cannot survive temperatures greater then 122 degrees or 50 degree Celsius.
- In order to prevent scabies reinfestation, it is important to make your environment as inhospitable to Scabies Mites as possible. Apply Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth on your furniture, in your car, even on your carpets and bedding. Diatomaceous earth is commonly used in powder pesticides and the soft ectoskelton of scabies is susceptible to the mechanical action DE and causing them the dry up.
- Mattresses and bedding is one of the primary reasons most people get reinfested. The scabies mites leave your body while you are lying in bed and venture onto the mattress and only to reinfest you when they sense warmth later.
- All bed clothes (spreads, comforters, sheets, pillow cases, blankets) including pillows should be put into the dryer on high EVERY NIGHT before placing them on your bed. the heat will kill the scabies mite.
- Use a Steam Cleaner to clean the carpets in your home, car seats, office chair and other upholstered furniture where you sit frequently.
- All clothes should be placed in the dryer on High for 20 minutes before wearing them. After laundering them, store your clean, sanitized clothes in large plastic bags during the cleaning process.
- Never use the same bath towel twice and always throw it in the clothes dryer on high before putting it in the dirty clothes hamper.
- Scabies Mites can live away from a host from between 48 and 72 hours. Some biting Mites can live up to a month off a host. Therefore, it’s important to understand that you don’t want to unbag too soon.
Other human parasites are bed bugs. Bed Bugs are very different than scabies mites as these bugs are large enough to see and they never burrow into the skin. Finding a bed bug treatment is quite different.