Table of Contents
- In what special situations can scabies be more easily spread?
- Can a scabies infestation be prevented?
- Scabies facts
- What is scabies? What causes a scabies infestation?
- How do you get scabies?
- Can you catch scabies from a dog or cat?
- What are risk factors for scabies?
- What does scabies rash look like? What are scabies symptoms and signs?
- What does scabies feel like?
- How is a scabies infestation diagnosed?
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation?
- What kind of doctor treats scabies?
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation? (Part 2)
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation? (Part 3)
- Are cases of scabies often misdiagnosed?
- What are possible complications of scabies?
- What is Norwegian or crusted scabies?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for scabies?
What are risk factors for scabies?
Scabies can infest any human who comes in contact with the mites. The only known risk factor is direct skin contact with someone who is infested. The contact one experiences in social or school settings is not likely to be sufficient to transmit the mites. Sexual or other close contact (such as hugging) is required to spread the condition. The condition does appear in clusters, so outbreaks may occur within a given community.
What does scabies rash look like? What are scabies symptoms and signs?
Scabies produces a skin rash composed of small red bumps and blisters and affects specific areas of the body. Scabies may involve the webs between the fingers, the wrists and the backs of the elbows, the knees, around the waist and umbilicus, the axillary folds, the areas around the nipples, the sides and backs of the feet, the genital area, and the buttocks. The bumps (medically termed papules) may contain blood crusts. It is helpful to know that not every bump is a bug. In most cases of scabies affecting otherwise healthy adults, there are no more than 10-15 live mites even if there are hundreds of bumps and pimples on the skin.
The scabies rash is often apparent on the head, face, neck, palms, and soles of the feet in infants and very young children but usually not in adults and older children.
Textbook descriptions of scabies always mention "burrows" or "tunnels." These are tiny threadlike projections, ranging from 2 mm-15 mm long, which appear as thin gray, brown, or red lines in affected areas. The burrows can be very difficult to see. Often mistaken for burrows are linear scratch marks or welts that are large and dramatic and appear in people with any itchy skin condition. Scratching actually destroys burrows.