Germs and bacteria are not the only things that can be passed around from person to person. Scabies – mites that burrow into the wrists, fingers, toes, elbows, armpits, waistline, or crotch – are also passed through human contact and are usually detected when one or several family members begin to notice severe itching.
The itch is often accompanied by red rashes in the infected areas and tiny bumps. The itch is most noticeable at night and is commonly on or between fingers, and on the hands. Very rarely do the mites burrow into the head, neck, or back area. Upon closer examination, tiny red dots, or burrows, can be seen in various regions of the body. The mites, after burrowing under the skin, lay 1-3 eggs daily which feel like groups of tiny bumps just under the skin.
Untreated, the mites hatch and each of the females begin laying eggs, too. The female mites are too tiny to be seen without a microscope but their presence can be felt during the activity, in the form of the itch. Consult with a physician immediately upon suspecting that you have contracted scabies. The testing is very simple and can be done in the privacy of the physician’s office.
Although the thought of bugs crawling under our skin is disturbing, it doesn’t mean that the infected person is unclean or has a dirty home. No one knows exactly where scabies began, but records of scabies go back to before the Roman days.
The treatment hasn’t changed much in all those years. Sulfur was used in those days to rid oneself of scabies, and to this day, sulfur is still used, in prescription cream form. The cream is applied several times a day, directly to the hands, feet, or any other infected area. The medication must be finished completely, but that doesn’t guarantee the prevention of the mite’s return. Some people are allergic to the modern formulas, in which case diluted lice shampoo or enzyme cleaner with peppermint can be used to kill the mites.
If one person in the family is found to have scabies, it’s wise for the entire family to be treated. Treatment includes washing all brushes, combs, towels, coats, gloves, bedding, and pillows in hot water – 120 degrees or above. Use lice spray to treat car interiors and furniture and use a blow dryer to treat surfaces that can’t be bathed or sprayed, like keyboards or remote controls.
Scald shower, tub, sink, bathroom floors and sauna surfaces with very hot, soapy water daily for a week upon discovery of the mites. Do not allow school children to attend school until the mites have been treated. Avoid contact like shaking or holding hands until the mites have been treated, and avoid sex if the mites have spread to the genital area, which affects men more than women.
Bugs are disgusting, especially when you know they are in or on your body. Nothing short of avoidance of human contact can prevent the spread of scabies, but upon noticing that scabies have invaded, seek medical treatment immediately.