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What is Scabies – Symptoms and Causes

Scabies is a skin infection. It is caused by a mite parasite called Sarcoptes scabiel. This infection is also known as sarcoptic mange. 300 million people are affected with this infection worldwide annually and 1 million of them are from the United States. This article tries to gain further insight on the symptoms and causes of this infection.

Symptoms of Scabies:

  • Hand rash
  • Wrist rash
  • Genital rash
  • Rash between fingers
  • Elbow rash
  • Underarm rash
  • Lower abdominal rash
  • Genital rash
  • Buttock rash
  • Scrotum rash
  • Rash under breasts
  • Thigh rash
  • Rash around nipples
  • Buttock rash
  • Penile rash
  • Itching worse after a hot bath or shower
  • Itchy hands
  • Itchy elbow
  • Itchy wrist
  • Itching worse in bed
  • Itching between fingers
  • Penile itching
  • Genital itching
  • Underarm itching
  • Itching thighs
  • Infected skin regions – from scratching
  • Itching around the nipples
  • Itching under breasts
  • Itchy scrotum
  • Itchy buttocks

Norwegian or Crusted Scabies Symptoms: Transplant patients on immunosuppressive drugs, cancer patients, HIV patients and other people with compromised immune system are prone to norwegian scabies. It is a serious form of scabies infection. A normal scabies patient is infested with 10 – 20 mites at any one time. But a norwegian scabies patient is infested with thousands to millions of mites at a time. This makes the symptoms to be apparent severely. It takes 10-14 days on average for the following signs to appear:

  • Extreme itching especially at night
  • Red and blistered skin
  • Toe itching
  • Fingers itching
  • Wrist itching
  • Armpit itching
  • Abdomen itching
  • Genitalia itching
  • Buttock itching
  • Nipple itching
  • Groin itching
  • Itching on the scalp, face or soles of the feet is common in babies and children

Causes of Scabies:

  • Scabies is caused by touching the skin of an infected person or by picking up the mites under the fingernails as it is highly contagious.
  • The mite can spread by being in the objects like keyboards, clothing, towels, toilets, bedding or furniture on being rubbed off.
  • The mite can survive up to 14 days away from these infection spreading hosts, but cannot not survive longer than two or three days away from human skin.
  • The female mite parasite makes it way into a section of the skin called stratum corneum lays eggs there.
  • The larvae hatches in 3-10 days and matures into adult mite as time progresses.
  • It takes 3-4 weeks for the adult mite to leave the skin leading to intense and itchy skin rashes on the skin of the infected person.
  • When the mites move within the skin surface the itching increases in severity.
  • Feces of the mites cause allergic reaction. Within 2-6 weeks of infestation, the symptoms become apparent.
  • However, in a person affected with scabies in past, these symptoms appear in 1-4 days itself.

2 responses to What is Scabies – Symptoms and Causes

  1. Great article on scabies. I found another site with some interesting information and pictures at scabies information

  2. Sorry, the link was scabies information

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