Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by the itch mite.
Scabies is an ancient disease. Predisposing factors for the development of scabies are a large crowding of people, non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, weather conditions. In our country, the incidence increases in the autumn-winter period.
The greatest likelihood of contracting scabies is with prolonged direct contact with a sick person, for example, in children’s groups during games. A special role in the infection of adults belongs to sexual contact. The probability of infection through household items, clothes, towels, personal hygiene products, toys is somewhat lower.
During contact with the patient, adult mites more often get on the skin, less often – their eggs or larvae. Scabies pruritus makes passages in the stratum corneum (superficial) layer of the skin, in which it lays eggs, feeding on skin keratin. Ticks are most active in the evening and at night, during these hours they can get to the surface of the skin.
Specific symptoms do not develop immediately in a person: it is preceded by a long incubation period. The vital activity of a tick in the skin is not felt by a person. Symptoms occur with the development of a specific immune response to the tick and its waste products. This reaction proceeds according to the type of allergy, which is accompanied by characteristic itching and other manifestations. That is why in people with weakened immune systems (AIDS patients, taking long courses of immunosuppressive therapy, corticosteroids, etc.), scabies can be asymptomatic for a long time.
Signs of scabies
Classical scabies is accompanied by itchy skin, hence its name. Itching intensifies in the evening and at nightwhich is associated with the activity cycle of ticks.
Read more: How to treat scabies?
Favorite places of the scabies mite on the body:
- spaces between fingers and toes
- sexual organs
- mammary glands and folds under them in women
- skin of the groin, elbow and knee folds, abdomen
- in young children, the skin of the face and scalp may be affected (in adults – very rarely)
In addition to itching, a characteristic rash appears on the skin; upon careful examination, one can detect tick linear moves having an inlet and an outlet. One end is blindly closed and it is possible to distinguish the tick itself in the form of a dark dot. If you dye the skin with tincture of iodine, the passages are stained stronger than undamaged skin and become clearly visible.
During scratching, the skin is often damaged, a bacterial infection joins, which leads to the appearance of a purulent rash.
Treatment and prevention
Prevention of scabies is the observance of the rules of personal hygiene, the exclusion of accidental, dubious contacts. When a sick person is identified, simultaneous treatment of all people who are in close contact with him is carried out. Prophylactic single treatment of contact persons is possible.
Children attending an organized group, and decreed groups of the population are isolated for the entire period of treatment. At the end of the course, treatment is carried out on the premises, clothing, household items, etc.
It is necessary to treat scabies under the supervision of a doctor, strictly observing the prescribed regimen and duration of the course. In case of incomplete processing, too short a course and other violations of the recommendation, the process may be resumed. For treatment, external agents are usually used, which must be carefully applied to the skin.