Hooked On Your Skin - Useful Scabies Facts

By: Peter Finch

Scabies are usually transmitted through direct contact, intimate, for example sleeping in the same bed with the infected individual. The affection is a type of dermatitis, meaning skin affection, which is highly contagious. It is caused by itch mite and it is characterized by an eruption.

The mites cannot fly or jump, they move very slowly, and they can survive up to four days without a human host. During this time, they can be transmitted to humans through clothes, sheets, and through other items use for personal purposes or in the household.

The itch mite that causes the scabies is called Sarcoptes scabiei. This type of mites is attracted by the heat and the smell of the human body. Female mites go into the skin, literally digging small tunnels, the size of very small threads, which sometimes are visible. That is the place where the parasites lay their eggs.

It is transmitted by close contact and direct touch of an infected individual or by touching items, which were contaminated by an infected person, such as a doorknob, or a cup, or if you touch the clothes previously worn by a contaminated person.

The parasite goes under the skin very quick, especially under rough areas, or areas, which present wrinkles, for example the skin of the elbows, between the fingers, and knees.

After going under the skin, a female mite can lay up to twenty eggs before it dies. Those eggs laid under the skin will transform into larva three days later. The larva moves on the surface of the skin and they become adults after fourteen to seventeen days later. The whole cycle continues until the itchy mites are destroyed.

Sarcoptes scabiei contaminate humans and they do not contaminate dogs or other animals. The same way, the mites from the animals do not have any effect on the humans, because they cannot survive or reproduce on human body.

Still, they can live long enough on human skin to cause itches, allergies, or produce papules in a few days. As we mentioned before, scabies are very contagious. Parasites can be transmitted to healthy people even after the infected ones have no more symptoms, if they are not treated properly. After the first contamination takes place, several weeks must pass so that the symptoms are back on the skin.

All this time, the patient is highly contagious, because this time is also known as the incubation period. The symptoms as well as the manifestation of the affection become more pregnant after taking a bath or especially during the night. Sometimes they can be mistaken with dry skin, because that is how they look.

The itching sensation is caused by the allergic reaction to the mite. For children and for older people who are infected, the itchy might become severe.

The skin has the aspect of a rash and small curves can be noticed at the sensitive skin level. These are the results of the tunnels dug by the mites. Sometimes, a small black dot can be seen. It is the parasite itself, at the end of the lesion.

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