This is caused by a little mite, which burrows underneath the
skin. It is spread by direct contact. The symptoms of scabies
include itching accompanied by a rash, which is usually quite
severe and is worst at night often leading to lack of sleep. Scratching
of the skin may change its appearance. The mite lives under the
skin and its coat and waste products set up an allergic reaction
hence the itch.
From the skin surface the burrows look like small grey threads
that are raised wavy and 5-10 mm long. The most common places
to see these are in the web of the fingers and toes and on the
inside of the wrist. (The patient may also have noted then in
the armpits, buttock, nipples or genital area.). The mite rarely
affects the face and scalp except in infants. Successful eradication
of scabies is dependent on adequate skin coverage and treatment
of other people with whom you have been in contact.
The itch may take several weeks to develop, and as the mite is
transmitted in close personal contact, you should ask other family
members, boyfriends or girlfriends. It may only be noticed as
the skin becomes infected due to scratching.
The itch may only be relatively recent, as it may take a few weeks
to develop after contacting the mite. The treatment for scabies
may not be effective if the directions are not followed exactly.
It is important to know that he itch of scabies can continue for
a time after such treatment has worked (for days or even weeks),
a suitable antihistamine may be taken to reduce the skin reaction.
If you are taking any medication, or if you are suffering from
any disease or if you are pregnant you should ask to speak to
All members of the household must be treated together, (also boyfriends
and girlfriends), even if they are not itching - the itch may
take up to 8 weeks to develop. After using an appropriate treatment
the body should then be completely washed with a good, non-irritating
soap-free wash. Fresh undergarments and bedclothes are advisable.
mites in bed linen or clothes are removed in the ordinary process
of washing and ironing, and do not need to be disinfected.
- The itch may continue for a time after treatment has succeeded
- this is normal and a good non-drowsy antihistamine can be taken
to prevent this itch.