Scabies Facts

Scabies is a contagious parasite/mite (easily transferred from one person to another) of the skin caused by tiny, eight-legged wingless insects or mites commonly called the ‘human itch mite’ or Scabies itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The female insect, seeking warmth, burrows into the skin where she lays 1-3 eggs daily and produces secretions, which often cause an allergic reaction.

Scabies is spread by personal contact, e.g., by shaking hands or sleeping together or by close contact with infected articles such as couches, clothing, bedding or towels.

Scabies are not able to jump or fly, the only way to acquire the infection is by direct contact with an infected person or by contact with infected linens, clothing, or furniture.

Scabies appears as reddish pimple-like irritations, rashes or zigzag burrows in the skin, especially the webbing between the fingers; the skin folds on the wrist, elbow, or knee; the genitals, the breasts, armpits or shoulder blades. It usually accompanies intense itching (especially at night) and over most of the body.

Scabies mites are microscopic.The only way to be certain of an infestation is to have skin scrapings made and inspected under a microscope by a laboratory.However, anyone with experience (including viewing pictures of infected persons on the Internet) can usually make accurate diagnoses without expensive laboratory procedures.

A scabies mite infestation begins when a fertilized female cuts into the skin and burrows in the upper layers of skin.She lays eggs in the burrows. When the eggs hatch, the larvae migrate to the skin surface to molt and grow into adult mites.Two nymphal stages and the adult stage are spent on the skin surface; only fertilized females burrow beneath the skin surface to lay eggs.

In regular scabies, the number of mites on a host at any one time is, on average, 10 to 15 (with a range of 3-50). Persons with Norwegian scabies, on the other hand will have thousands to millions of mites. The main difference simply is the number of mites present on an infected person and the crusting of the skin.

The incubation period from time of infection to time of symptoms with regular scabies is 10 to 14 days. The mites themselves are usually too small to be seen without magnification.

Once away from the human body, mites do not survive more than 48-72 hours. When living on a person, an adult female mite can live up to a month.

Pets can become infested with a different kind of scabies mite. If your pet is infested with scabies, (also called mange) and they have close contact with you, the mite can get under your skin and cause itching and skin irritation. However, the mite usually dies in a couple of days. The mites may cause you to itch for several days, and until you and your pet is successfully treated, mites can continue to bite, lay eggs and burrow into your skin and cause you to have all the classic scabies symptoms.

For a person who has never been infested with scabies, symptoms may take from 2 to 6 weeks to develop. For a person who has had scabies, symptoms may appear within several days to 2 weeks. You do not become immune to an infestation of scabies.

Traditional medicine (doctors making a living by writing prescriptions) will recommend poison or pesticide based lotions for scabies treatment which is their only choice. Please Note:No pediculicide poison should be used on infants or children under five, pregnant women or nursing mothers or on cut or abraded scalps. No poison based ‘over-the-counter’ products using Pyrethroid Compounds (Pyrethrin, Pyrethrum, Permethrin, Pythroids, Lindane, and Malathion) should ever be used to “treat” scabies, head, body or pubic lice more than once, if it failed the first time, clearly indicating the parasite may, at the very least, are resistant or immune to that particular product/poison.

There are also ‘Natural Pyrethrins’ being sold which are botanical pesticide poisons extracted from the daisy species. There are also ‘Synthetic pyrethroids’ are a diverse class of more than 1,000 powerful, broad-spectrum insecticide poisons. Other ingredients in pyrethrin formulations such as solvents (petroleum distillates) can and do cause toxic side effects! Be cautious. The cure may be worse than the disease!

Anyone who is diagnosed with scabies, as well as his or her sexual partners and persons who have close, prolonged contact to the infested person should also be treated. In this case, even if symptoms have not yet appeared, everyone living in the home should receive treatment at the same time, as well as treating your environment to prevent reinfestations.

Itching and burning may continue for 2-4 weeks, and does not mean that you are still infested. Your health care provider may prescribe additional medication to relieve itching if it is severe. No new burrows or rashes should appear 24-48 hours after effective treatments have been completed.

It is very important to know what products you are using on your family. If you not sure about the safety of the product or the harmful and potentially fatal effects of these types of pesticides we encourage you to do a little research on the active ingredients. This may help you understand the products that are being used on your family before it’s too late.”Google” the active ingredient(s) listed on the label to determine for yourself what is safe and natural for you and your entire family.