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What Is Scabies?

What Is Scabies?

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Advisory by Marcus Heng, Guardian Pharmacist

Friendly Farmacist Friday:
Scabies spreads easily and can affect anyone, but children and older adults tend to experience more severe itching.

What is Scabies?
Scabies refers to an intensely itchy and contagious rash caused by the mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. These tiny mites are typically transmitted by direct skin contact, but may also travel from linen or shared clothing.

What are the symptoms?
Scabies burrow into the skin, causing a characteristic line of reddish bumps that are itchy, especially at night. Scabies rarely affect areas above the neck in healthy adults. The itch normally develops after a 3-6 week incubation period.

How is it treated?
Mite eradication is usually done with scabicides like crotamiton, benzyl benzoate, or malathion lotions. All household members should be treated simultaneously to prevent a cycle of infestation. Fumigation of livings areas is not required but it is recommended that linens be washed in hot water as a precaution.

How can the itch be managed?
Antihistamine tablets and mild steroid creams may be used to cope with the itch, which may still persist 2-3 weeks after eradication.

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