Treatment For and What Causes Scabies
The answer to what causes scabies is a small mite (Sarcoptes scabei)
that you can
only see under a magnifying glass or microscope. Scabies
is a highly contagious skin condition, since the mites are attracted to
human warmth and smell. It cannot live more than
three days without a human host. However, it survives up to a 30 days
if living on a human. The mite lays eggs in the skin, which hatch
and grow into adult mites. Symptoms could last for months or even
years. Over the counter treatment is available to both kill the mites
and restore skin condition."
Scabies is a bug that strikes just about anywhere and at anytime. It
all starts when mites of the species Sarcoptes scabiei tunnel into your
skin, causing extreme itching. It makes no difference to scabies how
old you are, your race, social class or gender. It doesn’t even matter
how clean you are. Once a family member is infected with scabies, it
tends to spread like wildfire. Sexual contact also will proliferate
If you have never had scabies before, you may not show symptoms until
four to six weeks later.
The scabies mite cannot fly, or jump onto people. Note that
mites that do not cause scabies can jump and fly.
Scabies is known by three other names: Human itch mite, Scabies itch
mite or the seven year itch mite. And unfortunately, it’s so small you
can’t see it without magnification of some sort. It has eight legs and
a round body that helps it to burrow into your skin, making a tunnel in
which to lay its eggs. It’s the secretions these mites excrete that
cause the relentless itching. Interestingly enough, the “average”
person that is infested with scabies, usually has only five to 10 mites
on their body at a time. If you don’t get treatment right away however,
that number rises exponentially.
Typically, scabies are found in areas where many people live
one roof. An example would be a nursing home or hospital, where people
tend to have weakened immune systems. Those with sensitive immune
systems may contract crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies.
This variation causes a scaly rash and thickening of the skin. The
crusts also contain millions of mites and eggs.
Scabies is often confused with other diseases or conditions, such as
body lice, bed bugs, chiggers, shingles, impetigo, ringworm, eczema or
Generally speaking, what causes scabies is when mites pass from
one person to
another by close contact such as hugging, sexual contact, sitting in
the same chair as
someone that has scabies, sleeping together, bedding,
towels, furniture and wearing another’s clothing.
School age children often touch during play, passing the
problem from person to person.
Dog scabies on humans causes a mild skin infestation. Canine
scabies on humans cannot reproduce and die in several days. Symptoms
include skin itch and irritation.
Dogs and cats cannot spread human scabies.
It is important to treat dog mange
since the dog scabies on humans will continue to cause skin irritation
on people until the dog is treated.
What causes scabies?
A small microscopic
scabies mite that looks for rough skin or wrinkled skin to burrow.
Scabies typically present with a small zigzag blister or S-shaped track
on your body – usually the moist parts, because scabies mites love the
warmth and wetness for laying their eggs. The blister is the result of
the female depositing her eggs under your skin.
If you see odd markings in any of these areas, it could be a sign of
scabies as noted in the diagram below::
- between the webs of your fingers or toes
- under your
- around the waist
- the inner elbow
- the nipples
- the penis
- the groin area
- your buttocks
This diargram indicates
areas where scabies rash symptoms often appear
Young children can also see signs of scabies on the soles, palms, neck,
face and head.
Also look for a companion red rash.If it is the first time you have
scabies, symptoms can take 2 to 6 weeks to appear. Even without
symptoms, scabies can still be spread by a carrier.
Individuals that had prior episodes will see
scabies symptoms in 1 to 4 days.
usually occurs at night. Scabies can also cause a rash characterized by
red papules or red raised areas on the skin. Note that it is important
to avoid scratching as this could spread
scabies from area to area. Scratching can also lead to
Since these little bugs can’t be seen, unless they are under a
microscope or something else that will reveal their presence, your
doctor will do a test by swabbing a suspicious area that is inflamed
with sterile mineral oil. He will then take a skin scraping and look
for the mites, eggs and feces. There is no blood test for this disease.
If the first test is not conclusive, the physician will do an ink test,
which involves a felt-tipped pen drawn on the suspicious inflamed
areas. Once the skin is wiped clean, the mite’s burrows may be seen,
allowing the doctor to diagnose scabies.
You will most likely need a prescription medication for what causes
natural remedies are available for you to try. Let your doctor know if
you also use natural medications. Be aware that the itching and rash
may last for up to two weeks, even after treatment. If that is the
case, the treatment may need to be repeated.
What you can do at home to remove what causes scabies:
- Wash everything like sheets, towels and clothing using the
hottest water possible. Dry on high heat.
- For other items, bag them and store them for a
week or longer.
- Clip your nails and clean them well.
- Vacuum your rugs, furniture, mattress and the interior
of your vehicles. Throw the vacuum bag out.
- Don’t scratch, if you can help it. Try antihistamines, such
as, Phenergan, Zrytec, Atarax or Benadryl.
- Use a disinfectant spray such as Benzarid
to eliminate what causes scabies from the home.
What you can do medically:
- Use 5% permethrin cream, by prescription only. Smear from head to
in spots like skin folds, between fingers and toes and in the groin
just before going to bed. Leave on for up 10 to 14 hours and wash off.
- Prescription pill containing ivermectin. This is not
FDA approved. The permethrin cream is viewed as being safer.
- Malathion .05% lotion
- For bacterial infected sores, antibiotics of choice
prescribed by the
doctor will be added to the treatment regimen.
- Benzyl benzoate
- Crotamiton cream or lotion
or soaps with sulfur
What you can do naturally:
is a natural treatment that is applied to the
outside of the skin, penetrating the surface to skill scabies mites. It
is made from alpha-terpinene-4-ol, a compound found in the plant
extracts cymbopogon citratus and melaleuca alternifolia that have
proven mite killing properties. It can be used with other
natural products such as Sulfur
and Lavender Soap
. Sulfur is a natural
References for What Causes Scabies:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention