Scabies

A widespread itchiness of the skin usually associated with patchy tiny red irritated lesions scattered widely around the body.

Scabies is a very common skin infection which leads to itch and finally leads to eczema.

Fairly close physical contact between people is required for transmission. There is often a history of a close personal contact having had an itchy rash as well. The condition affects both children and adults. The spaces between the fingers are commonly affected.

The genital area in males is a common site and around the nipples in females is another common site. However, most patients have a widespread itchy rash and detecting individual sites of involvement amongst the rash can be extremely difficult. There are various available treatments for scabies.

It is important for the treatment to be applied to all of the skin from the neck downwards (not just picking out the itchy sites). It is also important for close contacts to be treated on the same day. The treatment should be left on the skin for twenty-four hours and all bedding and clothing should be washed and changed. I advise my own patients to repeat this treatment again after one week (even though one good treatment is often completely successful).

The second treatment is a precaution. It is very important to understand that even after successful treatment (where the infection has been killed off) the resulting eczema does not fade away for at least six weeks. It is important that repeated scabies' treatments are not given during this time because they can make the eczema worse. Moisturisers and weak steroids should help the eczema to fade away but these should not be used until at least 24 hours after the scabies treatment applications.

This itchy rash can cause distress to individuals and sometimes whole families for many months before being diagnosed. Now might be the time to consider an specialist, for my expert opinion use 'consult the specialist' here.
by Dr John Ashworth

by Dr John Ashworh

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