Scabies is one of the common ectoparasitic infections. Scabies caused by a mite that is scientifically known as Sarcoptes scabiei. The mite Sarcoptes scabiei is invisible to the naked eye. They can only be seen with the aid of a magnifying glass or microscope. Scabies parasite live on the skin and causes irritation of the hands, arms, trunk, legs, and buttocks. The itching appears after few weeks from contact to a person with scabies infection. The itching is often related with small bumps over the area of itching. The itching usually becomes worse at the night. Usually scabies spread by skin-to-skin contact and clothes of an infected patient. It also spread through sexual contact.
Medical attention must be sought as soon as a person is diagnosed with Scabies. Diagnosis of scabies is done after performing certain tests and on the basis of the symptoms. The symptoms are usually itching and irritation, small bumps over the area of itching, etc. Pruritus is the predominant symptom of scabies. Sensitization to Sarcoptes scabiei occurs before pruritus develops. It takes several weeks to develop sensitization when a person is infected with Sarcoptes scabiei. Though, within 24 hours pruritus may appear after a consequent reinfestation. In adults scabies is frequently spread and infested through sexual contact, though in cases of the children the scenario is different.
The treatment regimen is followed with the recommended and prescribed drugs as soon as a person is found infected with scabies. Permethrin (Elimite) is used as the standard treatment. 5% cream of Permethrin is used for the treatment and is applied to the whole body of the patient from the neck down and is washed off after 8 to 14 hours. Every week the treatment is repeated. Alternatively Lindane is sometimes used in the place of Permethrin. 1 ounce of a 1% lotion or 30 grams of cream of Lindane is applied to the whole body from the neck down and after about 8 hours it is washed off. Though your treatment might be successful but the itching may persist for up to 2 months. But that’s not true for all the scabies cases. Since Lindane can enter into the blood stream through the wet, irritated or diseased skin, it should never be used after a bath and the patients with extensive skin disease or rash should inhibit the use of Lindane. As an additional precautionary measure pregnant or nursing women and children below two years should not use Lindane.
Ivermectin (Stromectol) is another medicine which is also used for treating scabies and is taken orally. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended Ivermectin at an amount of 200 micrograms per kg body weight as a single dose, followed by a repeated dose after two weeks. A patient may find it quite convenient to take the medicine orally rather applying cream over the whole body, but let me tell you Ivermectin has greater risk of toxic side effects than Permethrin. Neither is it found to be superior to Permethrin in the treatment of Scabies.
Similar to pubic lice both bedding and clothing should be machine washed in hot water to kill the germs and other microbes present in there. Finally, all close personal and household contacts, sexual partners within the month before the infection should be tested and treated if found infected.