By Dr. Shirish Kulkarni, Dermatology
When tiny mites, or more specifically scabies mites, enter your skin, an allergic reaction occurs consequently resulting in itchy skin. This condition is more commonly known as scabies, and is very contagious in nature, spreading very easily and rapidly from person to person at the slightest touch or body contact. When left untreated, scabies mites can reproduce and grow under the surface of the skin leading to excessive itching and development of sores.
There are two main symptoms of scabies:
1. Severe itching which is worse during the night, especially for old people and small children
2. Development of rashes accompanied by sores and tiny blisters
These symptoms most often occur in the following areas of the body:
1. Around the waistline and navel
2. Between the fingers
3. On the palms and wrists
4. On the buttocks
5. On armpits and elbows
6. On the genitals in men
7. Around the nipples and side breasts in women
8. On the neck, face and scalp of babies and small children
Your doctor will diagnose you depending on your symptoms. Generally, you will have to undergo a screening test to check for potential symptoms. For this test, your doctor will most probably scrape off a section of your skin which is then placed under a microscope for inspection and examination.
Treatment of scabies normally involves the application of a prescribed lotion or ointment over the entire body from the neck and downwards. In severe cases, your doctor may also advise you to take pills or medications. Until and unless scabies has disappeared completely, it is strongly recommended that you avoid physical contact with others, separate your articles of daily use and wash your clothes daily.