Scabies: The Basics

Scabies may cause itching that is severe and may become worse at night, and is characterized by thin burrow tracks that consist of tiny blisters or bumps on the skin. These appear as irregular in shape and usually appear in the folds of the skin. Dermatitis and eczema may also be associated with itching and tiny bumps, so consult your doctor if you notice symptoms that are associated with this condition to make sure that you are properly treated. In adults, burrows or tracks may be most commonly found between the fingers, in the armpits, around the waist, the inside of the wrists, on the inner elbow, soles of the feet, around the breasts, around the male genital area, on the buttocks, on the knees or on the shoulder blades. Children may notice the burrows or tracks on the scalp, face, neck, palms of their hands or soles of their feet.

Scabies are caused by an eight-legged, microscopic mite. Female mites burrow under the skin, creating a tunnel in which it deposits its eggs. The eggs typically mature in about 21 days and make their way to the surface of the skin where they mature and may spread. The itching is a result of the body's allergy to the mites, the eggs and their waste. You may contract mites through close physical contact with a physical person, or by sharing clothing or bedding. Medication may be used to eliminate the mites infestation. Creams or lotions may be recommended applied all over the body, and many doctors recommend treating all members of the household, as mites may be spread easily.

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