Randy Jacobs, M.D. Patient Education

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Scabies Patient Education



Introduction Scabies also known, as "mites" is an intensely itchy rash caused by a tiny mite that burrows in the skin. The mite is only 1/60 inch long, and is almost impossible to see. The rash usually involves the hands, wrists, breasts, genital area and waistline. This tiny mite has infested humans for many of years. The mite is often hard to diagnose and causes a fierce, itchy skin infestation. Scabies can strike anyone of any race or age, regardless of personal hygiene.


What causes scabies? Humans can be infested with a number of different mite types, including bird mites, water mites, and mites from dogs and cats. In scabies, the mite in question is a human mite. This microscopic mite is a tiny, eight-legged creature with a round body. The scabies mite burrows deep within the skin, causing an allergic reaction similar to a small mosquito bite. This results in severe itching, often intense enough to keep you awake all night long. Animals can also get scabies, but, in people, scabies is almost always caught from another person who has come into close contact. The contact may be a child, a friend, or other family member. Scabies is not necessarily a condition of low-income families, neglected children, or poor hygiene. No one is immune from posh Beverly Hills to the slums. Attracted to body warmth, the female scabies mite is drawn to a human host, creating her burrows, laying her eggs and producing secretions that cause allergic skin reactions. Scabies larvae hatch from the eggs and travel to the surface of the skin, Iying in shallow burrows where they develop into adult scabies mites.


How to treat? It may take a month before a newly infested person will notice the bothersome itching. In adults, the face is usually spared. In children, especially babies, scabies can occur anywhere on the body, extremities, or face. Infestation may involve the entire body, including the palms, soles, and scalp. Scabies is contagious. It is transmitted by close contact. All members of your family should be treated at the same time. Use the scabies medicine. Take the sheets off the bed.  Use a fresh towel in your bathroom. All items of clothing should be washed in hot water or kept in a plastic bag for a month. Spray the mattress and sofa with Rid OTC. Do not use Elimite medicine on infants or pregnant women.


Here are helpful tips:


o Elimite   5% Permethrin Cream    Make sure the body is dry. Apply to the entire body behind the ears and from the neck down with special attention to the areas between the fingers, wrists, the umbilical area, the groin, between the buttocks, between the toes, and under the fingernails. May be applied to the scalp and face in children and senior patients. Wash off in 10 hours. If symptoms have not cleared, a second application may be applied one week later.


o Wash clothing, bed linens, and towels in hot water                        o Machine dry after treatment


o Vacuum the entire house and discard the vacuum bag                o Spray furniture and wash tables


o Fumigate your house          o Flea dip your dogs and cats           o Notify others you have contacted


o What to avoid: Don't attempt to treat scabies by scrubbing with laundry detergent, hard soaps, or by applying kerosene, gas, or diesel fuel, etc. Insecticides like Black Flag or Raid will kill scabies, but can be toxic or poisonous to your body. Don't use steroids or any other creams until after Elimite.


o In pregnancy use Precipitated Sulfur 6% in petrolatum. Dr. Jacobs may ask the pharmacist to compound this for resistant scabies. Apply to the entire body from the neck, down, nightly for three nights. Bathe 24 hours after last application. If symptoms have not cleared, a second application may be applied one week after the first. 


o Eurax Cream: Make sure body is dry. Apply to the entire body from the neck, down, and leave on for 48 hours. If symptoms have not cleared a second application may be applied one week after first.


o Rid Shampoo Use this shampoo to cleanse the scalp, underarms, and groin. Use once only. If symptoms have not cleared, a second application may be applied one week after the first.


Photos of Scabies