Having itchy skin can be a huge detriment to the way we live our lives. It can make us feel uncomfortable and unable to focus on any task at hand. There can be many reasons why our skin feels itchy, and while they are not necessarily a cause for concern, sometimes itchy skin can be a sign of something a bit more serious. As with anything, if you start to feel unwell while having itchy skin, you should absolutely seek medical attention.
Unlike most skin conditions, scabies is not actually an infection but is instead an infestation of tiny mites that burrow into the skin. These mites can lay eggs beneath the skin, which can lead to raised bumps and a red rash. Although it is not an infection, scabies is still extremely infectious, so if you do think you have scabies, you must seek medical help. Anyone of any age can get scabies, but those with weaker immune systems are more likely to suffer more from it. Additionally, there is an assumption that scabies comes as a result of poor hygiene, but this is not the case. These sorts of misconceptions can be extremely damaging and can lead to misdiagnosis. Within this article, we will go over the signs and symptoms of scabies and what you should do in the event that you do have it.
As you might expect, one of the biggest symptoms of scabies is intense, itchy skin. This sort of itching will feel so different from any other, and it can get even more intense during the night. You may find that you wake yourself up from scratching and that you end up leaving your skin sore and red from all the itching. It may be difficult, but just try your best not to scratch the skin as this can make the condition worse. If you have children and you are noticing them scratching their skin, then it could be a good idea to put little socks or mittens over their hands as this can stop them irritating the skin. It can be difficult to get young children to stop scratching, so this method is the best way to prevent them from making scabies any worse.
Another big symptom of scabies is a raised rash or raised spots on the skin. The rash and the spots will appear red in colour, although they can sometimes be difficult to see on darker skin tones. In this case, you should still be able to feel the rash as it is very obviously raised above the skin. One of the first places you may notice the rash is between the fingers and on the hands, but it can appear anywhere on the body. At first, the rash may appear red in colour, but over time the rash can turn slightly darker into a reddish-brown or even black spots on the skin. The rash may start to scab up too and the rash can seem hard on the skin.
What Should You Do?
If you do notice any of these symptoms within yourself or someone that you live with, then you must contact your doctor or a pharmacist. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to prescribe you some cream that can help ease the symptoms of scabies. Even if the rash is just in one place, you should apply the cream to the whole body. As mentioned previously, scabies is highly infectious, so everyone within the household will need to be treated, even if they do not have any symptoms. Additionally, if you have had sexual intercourse with someone within the past eight weeks, you need to contact them, and they will need to be treated too. It may sound like a lot of hassle, but because the condition is so infectious, it needs to be treated to prevent it spreading any further.
Once you have applied a treatment of the cream, you need to ensure that you to another treatment a week later. However, you are allowed to go back to school or work after 24 hours of the first treatment, so it is not as if you need to quarantine yourself. What you do need to do though is wash all clothing and bedsheets on a high temperature on the first day of treatment in order to get rid of the mites. If you cannot wash something for whatever reason, then you will need to put it in a sealed bag for three days, so ensure the mites die off. Within this time of treatment, it is important that you do not share clothes or towels with anyone and that you do not have close physical contact until the course of treatment is completed.