How To Know If You Have Scabies?

Sarcoptes scabiei is the mite that causes scabies. These tiny, eight-legged mites burrow into the top layer of the skin to live, feed on blood and lay their eggs. Scabies are very itchy and cause grey contours along with red bumps on the skin.

How to know if you have scabies

Scabies mites can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or through extended contact with infested clothes, towels, and bedding. You cannot get scabies from your pets. These parasites can infest people of any race or class and they are quite common in areas with crowded living conditions like nursing homes, prisons, childcare centers, and extended care facilities.

How scabies breed

Scabies lay their eggs beneath the skin from where they hatch into larvae after about four days. The mites mature in another 4-5 days ready to lay the next generation of eggs. This cycle can continue indefinitely if left untreated. Scabies can infest and breed within your body for several weeks before the symptoms can begin to show.

Scabies mites do not infest pets. These crawling bugs cannot jump or fly. And they cannot live outside of the human body longer than 2 days. However, they can survive within their host for 1-2 months.

How to identify scabies

You cannot see scabies with unaided eyes. However, you can identify them by the rashes they cause on the skin. Here are some key scabies indicators:

  • The most obvious symptoms of scabies are rashes and severe itching that worsen at night.
  • Scabies rashes look like pimples or blisters: pink, raised bumps with fluid filled tops. Sometimes, these bumps may appear in a row.
  • Scabies can cause grey contours along with red bumps on the skin surface
  • The skin may develop red and scaly patches
  • While scabies mites may infest the entire body, they are common in the skin around the feet and hands

Scabies may look likes rashes caused by:

  • Syphilis
  • Dermatitis
  • Other parasites such as fleas
  • Poison ivy

Getting rid of scabies

Scabies is usually treated using doctor-prescribed topical medication. To help provide relief from some of the irritating symptoms associated with scabies, your healthcare provider may also recommend additional medications to contain the swelling and itching.

Itching may continue for several weeks, even if the first application of medication works. Constantly look out for new bumps and tracks. These symptoms may be indicative that you need additional treatment.

Treat all exposed scabies.

Home remedies for scabies

Several natural remedies are available that can help you relieve the symptoms of scabies. Here are some of them:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Clove oil
  • Need
  • Cayenne pepper

Some scabies FAQs

What are the symptoms of scabies?

Your first sign that something is amiss will be severe itching, especially at night, as well as pimple-like rashes. These symptoms may appear all over your body or they may be concentrated in certain locations like:

  • Groin or genitalia
  • Butt
  • Fingers and toes
  • Back
  • Abdomen or waist line
  • On the neck
  • Underneath the breasts
  • Elbows
  • Underneath the armpits
  • Ankles
  • Wrists
  • Knees

Under close observation, you may notice burrows on your skin. These are tiny, raised, flesh-colored or grey-white contours on the skin. They are caused by mites burrowing their way into your skin.

If you are infested with crusted scabies, you may not have the rashes or itches that scabies is known for.

If you have suffered a scabies infestation before, you may develop symptoms after just a couple of days of new exposure to the parasites. However, if you have never had it, you may not experience the symptoms for up to six weeks. Still, you can spread the parasites to the people you get in contact with, even if you do not have the signs of infection yourself.

How do you diagnose scabies?

Your health care provider should be able to tell if you have scabies by examining the burrows or rashes on your body. He might also attempt to remove a mite from the burrow by either scraping the skin or by using a thin needle to pull the mite from its burrow.

Can bedbugs cause scabies?

Bedbugs do not cause scabies since the condition is specific to the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These mites must burrow into the human skin to feed and breed. Bedbugs do not burrow into the human skin. They feed on human and other animals’ blood and are mostly active at night. Additionally, scabies mites are generally smaller than bedbugs with a fully-grown one reaching the size of a pen point. A fully-grown bed bug can be 7 millimeters long.

Why would scabies attack me?

Here are some of the ways you can be vulnerable to scabies:

  • Physical contact with the infected person through hand shakes or sharing items like bedding and clothing.
  • Getting into sexual contact with someone suffering from scabies
  • Living in crowded places like prisons, nursing homes, and daycare centers
  • Other risk factors include poor nutrition, old age, a poor immune system, and neurological disorders

Who should be treated for scabies?

Alongside the infested person, scabies treatment is also recommended for their sexual partners as well as members living in the same household. Treatment should be synchronized to prevent re-infection.

How to know if you have scabies? Final word

Scabies is caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites burrow into the human skin from where they feed on blood and breed. Scabies is characterized by an itchy feeling that escalates at night. They tend to make burrows that appear like contours on the skin surface.

Scabies can spread quickly in dormitories, nursing homes, camps and other crowded places where people regularly get into contact with each other. Of course, it can also spread among families when one member brings it home. It is important to understand that scabies spread from person to person and you cannot get it from pets like dogs and cats.

Your healthcare provider will help you distinguish scabies from other skin infections or rashes. Contacting your health care provider for accurate diagnosis is vital for effective treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter medications as well as home remedies that can help you treat this condition. It is important that all members of your household are treated to prevent spread or recurrence of the infection.