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What are scabies and how do I treat them


Scabies mites live within the subcutaneous tissues of the skin on humans causing the condition known as scabies; similar mites cause "mange" in wild and domestic animals.

These mites depend on humans for its life cycle. They are oval, straw coloured. They are very small, measuring 0.2-0.4mm in length. Their bodies are covered with fine lines and several long hairs. They have no eyes and have short, thick legs.

The mite burrows into the outer layer of human skin and excavates a tunnel. The mite lays her eggs singly, depositing her 2-3 eggs each day, it takes 48 hours for the eggs to hatch. During an infection the number of mites increases rapidly, then drops off leaving infected persons with a relatively stable population.

When infested you can experience severe itching all over the body, especially at night. Large areas of the body can be covered by a rash that can last for weeks, but will not coincide with the areas of mite infestation. Eruption of the skin into small itchy lessons may occur in conjunction with the rash. The hands and webbing between the fingers, the wrists and the elbows are common areas.

Untreated scabies infestations, especially in infants, immobilised geriatric patients, AIDS and other immunologically compromised patients can support huge numbers of female mites. The patients skin may become crusted on the surface, with the underlying layers soft like honeycomb with tunnels, these infections are referred to as "Norwegian" or "crusted" scabies.

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