Scabies highly contagious

What is scabies, scabies? Be careful, scabies is highly contagious and anyone can get it, including animals. What is scabies, the symptoms and how do you treat scabies? Anyone who has scabies has a skin condition that causes extreme itching. The culprit is the scabies mite, which lays tiny eggs under your skin. The scabies mite, the sarcoptes scabies, is less than 0.5 millimeters in size and scabies (Latin for scabies) does not go away on its own. So time for action.

What is scabies, how contagious is it?

Scabies is mainly recognized by an enormous itching of the skin, especially at night. Scabies has little to do with insufficient hygiene, but everything to do with the causative agent: the scabies mite. This tiny scabies mite, which can only be seen clearly with a magnifying glass, burrows into your skin. There, tunnels are drilled under the skin, in which the mite lays its eggs. Those eggs will hatch and the new mites will lay eggs again. Everything that the mite excretes and literally excretes ends up on or under the skin of your hearing, causing the rash and itching. Scabies is highly contagious.

How do I get scabies?

You get scabies from someone else through intensive skin contact or because you use bedding or clothing from someone who is infected with scabies. That could be someone you know, but also think of unwashed bedding in a hotel or a dirty stuffed animal. If the scabies mite is in there, it can transfer to your skin and cause harm. Because it is bad: the itching becomes unbearable due to the allergic reactions of your skin. Your skin will also show all kinds of red spots and circles. The circles are the results of the tunnels dug by the mite. You will notice that you also have scabies two to six weeks after being infected with scabies, so a relatively long incubation period precedes it. If you have had this skin condition before and become infected again, your body will recognize the mite much sooner and react allergically. The cause is not necessarily poor hygiene, but a good daily wash does help prevent contamination.

Complaints of scabies

A very recognizable complaint is increasing itching, with the scabies having a preference for places such as:

  • The palm.
  • Foot edges.
  • Between the fingers.
  • The foot and genitals.
  • The wrist.
  • The elbow.
  • The genitals.
  • The bellybutton.
  • The buttocks.

In addition to the uncontrollable itching, you will see blisters, red bumps and flaking.

Complications of scabies

Complications can arise if you scratch the itch and open the skin. Especially in people with eczema or people with reduced resistance, scratching can lead to more skin irritation and inflammation.

Get mange from an animal?

A dog, cat, horse or bird can also get scabies, but it is a different type than in humans. This does not alter the fact that scabies will also cause itching, but will not survive in humans.

Treatment of scabies

If you think you have scabies, see your doctor as soon as possible. They will give you a cream and tablets, but the treatment requires more action. From you and your partner. Everyone around you who is or may be infected should be treated at the same time. If this does not happen, you will infect each other again. Put all clothes in the wash before showering and put on clean clothes after the shower. Apply the cream again as soon as the skin has cooled down and is thoroughly dry. The previous cream will have been rinsed off when you shower. For an adult, apply to all skin except the head. It is best to wear disposable gloves yourself. Also keep your nails short. Every time you wash yourself or wash your hands, reapply that part. Do not combine the used cream with beauty products. In general, the itching will diminish significantly within three days. You may still have skin abnormalities and some itching for three to four weeks.

Is scabies common?

Every so often there is an outbreak of scabies, for example in places where many people are together. In the Netherlands, there was a massive outbreak of scabies among Groningen students in 2019.