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SCABIES

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					Can people be allergic to
the mites?
If scabies goes untreated, the
                                         Control the spread of scabies!
                                         Once scabies is diagnosed you should:
                                                                                               SCABIES
person's skin may become irritated
and develop a red or pimply allergic
                                         • Start medication immediately.                       Questions and Answers
                                         • Bathe or shower and clip finger and toe nails
rash. The rash may be around the           before applying medicine. Remember to apply
armpits, wrists, waist, on the inside      medicine to the hairline, ears, and soles of the
of the thighs or the back of the           feet.
calves, or elsewhere.                    • Avoid all contact, especially skin-to-skin            Scabies is an itching skin
The place of the rash is not always        contact, with the infected person during the          irritation caused by the
the same as the location of the            first 8 to 12 hours of treatment.                     tiny human itch mite
                                         • If the person with scabies needs assistance
mites. Once a person has become                                                                  (Sarcoptes scabiei var.
                                           with applying the medication, be sure to
sensitive to scabies, a new exposure
                                           protect yourself by wearing gloves and a              hominis). The mites dig a
will cause signs almost immediately.       long-sleeved shirt or gown when applying              burrow into the upper
How can scabies be                         medicine. Remove gloves and shirt after               layers of skin and cause
prevented?                                 application and be sure to wash your hands,
                                           wrist, and lower arms.
                                                                                                 itching, tiny irregular red
Good personal hygiene, frequent                                                                  lines just under the skin,
                                         • Change, clean and disinfect all sheets,
handwashing, regular bathing or            blankets, pillow covers, towels, wash cloths          and an allergic rash.
showering, regular changes of bed          and clothing after the first treatment. Wash in       Other bacterial skin infec-
linens, and not sharing clothing,          hot water with detergent and dry on the               tions may result from
towels or bedding helps prevent            highest heat for 20 minutes, or seal in a             untreated scabies.
scabies.                                   plastic bag for 5-7 days. Disinfect all mat-
                                           tresses, floors, and regularly used items.
All infected persons should be
treated. "Contacts" of a person with
scabies (such as sexual partners or
household members) should also be           Department of Human Services
treated.                                        Oregon Health Division
   If you need this material in         Acute & Communicable Disease Program
        a different format,                                                                   Acute and Communicable Disease Program
       call (503) 731-4024                         (503) 731-4024
                                         ohd.acdp@state.or.us • www.oshd.org
           published 07/00
How do people get scabies?                     examine it under a microscope for identifi-   Can you get scabies again?
The mites often move from one person to        cation.                                       If you get scabies again after a
another when people touch each other,          How do scabies live?                          doctor's treatment that worked, it
but sometimes you can get them from                                                          means you have been infested again
things such as clothing, sheets, blankets      The female mite mates with the male on
                                                                                             by touching someone who has sca-
and towels which have been used by a           the skin surface, then tunnels under the
                                                                                             bies. It is important to find out who
person who has the scabies mites. Mites        skin to lay eggs. In a few days the eggs
                                                                                             may have given you scabies, and get
spread easily when people sleep together.      hatch and the new mites travel to the
                                                                                             them treatment.
They are also easily spread within groups of   surface of the skin. The female mites then
                                               grow, mate, tunnel under the skin, and the    Sometimes, whole families are treated
people who spend a lot of time together,                                                     at the same time even though only a
such as families, children in day care, or     cycle begins again.
                                                                                             few members show signs at that time.
the patients and workers in hospitals.         A mite can only live for a short period of
                                                                                             This helps to make sure that infesta-
                                               time on non-living things. The survival
When do signs of scabies                       time will vary, depending on the tem-
                                                                                             tion does not happen again.
appear?                                        perature and humidity. Mites live only a      Remember that signs of scabies may
Most of the time, itching and other signs      few hours on dry surfaces such as cloth-      not show for as long as a month after
of scabies do not show up until about a        ing or bedding. Under ideal temperature       the first infestation starts.
month after the person first gets the          and moisture conditions, the mites may        Can people get scabies
mites. This is an important fact to re-        live up to 3 to 4 days.                       from animals?
member during treatment because people         How is scabies treated?                       Other kinds of the itch mite (Sarcop-
may carry mites without showing any
                                               Scabies should be treated by a doctor. The    tes scabiei var. cameli, var. canis, var.
signs or problems. Therefore, if people
                                               doctor will usually have patients put medi-   caprae, var. equi, var. ovis, var.
with signs are the only ones treated, there
                                               cated creams or lotions on all the skin       scabiei-crustoseae, var. suis) may live
is still a risk of spreading the mites.
                                               below the neck. The treatment often causes    on pets or other domestic animals,
How can you be sure it's                       tingling of the skin which may last as long   but people do not usually get scabies
scabies?                                       as 2 weeks. Calamine lotion may help          from animals.
                                               relieve this.                                 Studies show that many kinds of itch
A doctor can see the mite using a magni-
fying glass. The female mite can often be      It is important to carefully follow your      mites that live on other animals can-
seen through the skin as a dull whitish spot   doctor's directions about using the medi-     not continue to live and spread on
at the blind end of her burrow. The doctor     cine. Any other problems caused by the        humans. They can cause red skin and
will take out the mite with a needle and       scabies should also be treated by your        itching for 4 to 5 weeks until the
                                               doctor.                                       mites die.

				
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