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How To Identify Scabies?

Gain insights into recognizing scabies by understanding its distinct symptoms and visible manifestations, facilitating early detection and appropriate care.

  • 17 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read
  • 28 views

Scabies is a parasitic disease caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies is a highly uncomfortable and contagious skin condition. This condition arises when these tiny mites burrow into the top layer of the skin and lay eggs. Severe itching, rashes and sores are some of the symptoms of this disease. Scabies can lead to septicemia (infection of the blood), heart problems, or kidney problems. Identification of scabies involves recognition of its characteristic symptoms and its mode of transmission. This article addresses the question: How to identify scabies as early as possible? Read on to know more.

How to identify scabies:

In scabies, symptoms occur after the mite gets burrowed into the skin. If a person has contracted an infection before, then symptoms occur within one to four days. But if a person has not been infected before, the development of symptoms takes two to six weeks. Here’s how you can identify scabies early on:

  • Itching that worsens at night: The severe urge to scratch and itching are two of the most common symptoms of the scabies infection. The itching in this disease is so severe that the infected person cannot sleep and remains awake at night.
  • Rashes: In scabies, wavy tunnels consisting of tiny bumps or blisters where mite burrows in the skin form. This results in rashes. These areas of mite infection can look like hives, knots, pimples, or tiny insect bites. Sometimes, these rashes also result in eczema-like scaly patches.
  • Formation of sores: The severe urge to scratch due to itching results in the formation of skin sores. Infection of the sores further aggravates the condition.
  • Formation of a thick crust on the skin: When scabies become severe, they develop into Norwegian or crusted scabies. This type of scabies primarily affects those with weakened immune systems. In people with weakened immune systems, the body is not able to fight the infection, and therefore, the multiplication of mites is very fast. The symptoms of crusted scabies are:
    • Widespread, thick crust on the skin
    • The crust crumbles on touching
    • Crusts are greyish in colour
    • Red patches or scaly plaques
    • Mostly occurs on fingers, knees, elbows and feet soles
  • Parts of the body most affected: Scabies can affect any part of the body, but hands and feet are the most affected. In adults and older children, scabies is mainly found in between fingers and toes, armpits, waist area, inner part of wrists and elbows, chest, nipples, genitals, groin and buttocks. In small children and infants, scabies is mainly found on the fingers, scalp, neck, palms, and soles of the feet.

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Understanding how to identify scabies early on makes its treatment much easier. Many other conditions like dermatitis or eczema can also cause symptoms similar to scabies; therefore, if a person experiences the above-mentioned symptoms, consultation with a dermatologist is important to identify the cause of the itching and small bumps.

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