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Scabies and itch womanSCABIES


 Photo: Denis Mamin -


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What is scabies?

Itching of the skin is a very tiresome condition. It can be caused by various factors, one of which is the disease caused by Scabies mites (lat. Scabere = scratch).

It is generally believed that scabies was eradicated long ago, however, many people from all social classes are currently suffering from it.

The disease is favored by a weakened immune system and can often appear where many people live and work together in crowded community facilities such as schools, nursing homes, refugee and homeless shelters. Cramped conditions and poor hygiene encourage it to spread.


How do the scabies mites behave and how does an infection come about?

Scabies are arachnids and parasites that are specific to humans. They require a human host; pets are not infected. Scabies mites are barely visible to the naked eye (<0.5 mm). They live in the skin of the person they infect and dig ducts up to several centimeters long in the epidermal layer. Once there, the mite lays its eggs over the next four to six weeks, leaving excrement that cannot be removed by soap and water as it is nestled in the protective layer of the skin. After two to four days, the eggs hatch into larvae, which after a further two to three weeks grow into sexually mature mites.

Outside of the human body, such as in bed linen, on clothes and furniture, the mites' mobility varies depending on the environmental conditions. However, even under optimal conditions, the mite cannot survive longer than two days without a human host.


How is scabies transmitted?

The transmission is usually direct, from person to person, with prolonged, intensive skin contact. Shaking hands, a short hug, sharing objects are usually not enough for infection.

A higher risk is intimate physical contact (cuddling, sex) in a bed. Indirect transmission is possible, e.g. from laundry contaminated with scabies.

The incubation period is between two and six weeks, in the case of repeated infection even less, since the mites are already familiar with the immune system (sensitization).


How do you recognize scabies?

Scabies usually begins with a slight itch. As the stimulus increases, the skin begins to burn, and sleep is disturbed because the warmth of the bed encourages the mites to be more mobile. The first areas to be affected are those with a thinner skin layer such as the fingers and toes, under the armpits, on the groins, in the genital area, on the wrists and around the navel.

The head area is rarely affected in adults, more often in young children. Blisters, lumps and a crust appear on the skin. Bacterial superinfections can occur when the protective skin barrier is disturbed by scratching. With the help of a dermatoscopic examination, the skin burrows can be found. Despite the noticeable tracks they make, they are usually caused by only a few mites.


How are scabies mites treated?

If the proposed treatment methods are followed correctly, the chances of recovery are good. On the contrary, a reinfection can occur. Successful treatment usually takes a few days and consists of topical or oral drug treatment, plus accompanying hygiene measures.

Water, soap and normal skin cleansing do not remove the mites. Herbal products such as neem, tea tree oil or sulfur products are also not sufficiently effective.

The products used depend on the condition and severity of the outbreak. Together we will discuss the medical analysis to decide which treatment is the most suitable. As a rule, a high success rate is guaranteed after follow-up treatment.

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What other measures are recommended?

If you, family members, colleagues or friends have been diagnosed with scabies, even if there is no itching, anyone who has been in close contact should be treated.

If itching continues even after successful treatment, the condition is called post-scabetic itch. Constant care and maybe even a light cortisone cream will be helpful in relieving symptoms.

In summary, scabies can be successfully treated with medication. We are happy to help you understand more about this condition, and how the accompanying, essential, hygiene measures should be correctly carried out.


Which hygiene measures are necessary?

All hygiene procedures require that the entire household is treated:

Keep finger and toenails short

Do not wash hands after applying cream

Change your clothes after applying medication, as there may be scabies mites in the clothes you are wearing.

Towels, bed linen and underwear from the last four days must be washed in the washing machine at 60 ° C.

Clothing, bed linen and towels must be changed daily and washed at 60 ° C for at least four days

Any outer clothing, shoes and other objects that have been in prolonged physical contact with thr infected person and cannot be washed (stuffed toys, jackets, etc.) should be placed in a plastic bag at room temperature for at least four days. After this period, the itch mites can no longer survive.

During treatment, make sure that each person uses their own towels, blankets and pillows and avoid close physical contact.

Carpets, mattresses and furniture should be thoroughly cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

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  • Best dermatologist in Vienna. Really cares about his patient. He is a very good listener. He spent as much time as its needed and he doesn't rush patient. His aim is actually to help people not only earn money (like some of doctors tend to do). On the top of all of that he is really positive person and he explains everything in the proper manner.



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