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Scabies

(Skaa-bees)

Scabies is a parasite that is caused by a tiny mite, about 1/60th of an inch, which burrows under an infected person’s skin. The female mite will lay 2-3 eggs per day which will hatch in 3-4 days and grow into adults by 10-14 days. The average number of female mites on the body is 11. Scabies is passed through skin on skin contact with a person that has scabies. It is possible to get scabies by sharing bedding, towels and clothing with an infected person.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Scabies?

In most adults, the symptoms of the infestation of scabies rarely extends beyond the neck, however in infants, young children and the elderly, the lesions may occur on the neck and head. Symptoms of scabies can take up to 2-4 weeks after infection and can include, severe itching – especially at night, bacterial infections of the skin if the infected area is severely scratched, small red bumps that look like pimples, small brown bumps that look like trails called “burrows” and can be found anywhere on the body, but especially in the body folds (wrists, between fingers, underarms, etc.) or a Red rash in infected area.

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How Do I Know If I Am Infected?

Scabies is diagnosed by visually looking at the skin for signs of burrows. If a burrow is found, a scraping of the skin to uncover the mite is performed and will be looked at under a microscope to see if mites or eggs are present.

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Can Scabies Be Cured?

Scabies infections are treated with a medicated lotion that will kill the mite and the egg. However, the itching may continue for a couple of weeks until the contents of the burrow has been shed and normal skin tissue returns. All linens, clothing and towels used by infected people and close contacts must be thoroughly washed.

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How Can I Prevent A Scabies Infection?

Because scabies are often spread through sexual contact, the best way to avoid getting it is to not have sex. If you choose to be sexually active then being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been examined and is known to be uninfected can reduce your risk. To further reduce risk, it is recommended to not share any clothing, linens or towels. Condoms are not effective at reducing the risk of this infection because it can be spread through skin on skin contact.

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Click Here to see an image of Scabies. Warning: graphic image!
Parasite: a small organism that lives on or in the body of another organism of a different species called “the Host.” Parasites get their nutrition by feeding off of the body of the host. Lice and scabies are examples of parasites.
Medicated Lotion: a lotion containing an agent that kills off parasites.