Medical Questions » Skin Infections Questions » Question No. 914
Question:I went to my doctor with an itchy rash and she says I have an insect in my skin called scabies! What is this disease?
Answer:Scabies occurs when tiny insects, which are barely visible to the naked eye, start burrowing under the skin. It is rather like a microscopic mole, digging burrows that can be one centimetre or more long in the outer layers of your skin. These burrows, and the tissue around them, then become red, itchy and inflamed. The only way to catch scabies is by close contact with someone who already has the disease. In its early stages, a person may not realise that the couple of itchy spots they have on theit hands are scabies, and so shaking hands with that person could spread the disease. Treatment involves painting the entire body below the neck with a lotion or cream. All other members of the family, and anyone else closely connected to the sufferer, should be treated at the same time. The bed linen needs to be changed on that day too. The treatment is repeated after a week, so that any mites that hatch from the eggs remaining after the initial treatment will be killed. Scabies need not be a disease of unhygienic families, and can occur in the children of the most sctupulously clean mother. It does tend to come in epidemics every couple of years, and obviously the sooner it is treated, the less it will spread.
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