Scabies is an itchy condition of the skin, seen in human beings, caused by a small organism with itching of various grades getting more intense in the late evenings and night. It infectious and close contact is the commonest mode by which it spreads from one person to another.
Scabies can generally be diagnosed by an experienced healthcare provider on the basis of history and physical examination. It is only rare that investigation may be needed.
Points to Remember
Scabies is an infectious condition caused by a parasite which lays eggs on the skin. Not only the adult parasite but even the transference of eggs through physical contact or shared objects like bed linen can result in spread of the disease. Therefore, close contact is the chief mode by which an individual catches the infection.
Scabies can affect people of all age groups and all socio-economic strata.
The symptoms of scabies include late evening or night itch, small raised lesions over areas with a thin skin like webs spaces (between the fingers), wrists, armpits, abdomen, thighs, genitals etc. However it spares face and scalp in adults and can involve palms and soles in the young.
Treatment for scabies should include simultaneous treatment of all contacts and family members.
The itching caused by this condition does not start immediately upon catching the infection but some days or even a couple of weeks after catching the infection. While the patient is recovering from infection, again it takes several days to weeks before the itching subsides completely.
How to Use Antiscabetic Medication
The treatment of scabies involves use of externally applied medications (in addition to other medicines) which either needs to be used in the following manner or a variation of the same as per the advice of your physician. Please note that the following method has a scientific basis and you need to follow it in the manner prescribed to get the best results. This method is suitable only for an adult patient, but can be used in children above 10 years of age with your doctor’s permission.
- The commonest used medication is Gamma Benzene Hexachloride or GBHC and it is applied in weekly set of three applications. On the morning of day one, have a bath with warm water and scrub all areas of your skin using a rough cotton towel applying a little extra force. Immediately thereafter, use the first coat of prescribed medicine to all area of body neck downwards (except head and face). The application should be vigorous massaged for no less than 15 minutes. You may seek help from another person to use a thorough application to reach all areas of the body. After the first coat, put on cotton undergarments and routine dresses.
- On the same day, after at least 10 hours of using the first coat, proceed on to a second coat of application done in exactly the same manner.
- The following day (day two), skip a bath and apply third coat in the morning exactly as the previous two applications.
- On the second day itself, 10-12 hours after the third coat, you can have a normal bath and the first set of three applications is over.
- You need to repeat a second set of three applications as detailed above, every week for the following three to four weeks or as advised by your physician.
- All contacts and family members need to undergo simultaneous treatment in the same manner as for the patient.
- The medication used for such applications might differ from patient to patient and is best decided by your caregiver.
- The treatment for the pregnant, infants, children, and those on some form of other medications may be different.
Epidemics of scabies have been known to occur with devastating effects. Therefore,
the symptoms of late evening or night itch should not be taken lightly and home remedies are
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Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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