Scabies - Symptoms

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What does scabies rash look like? What are scabies symptoms and signs?

Scabies produces a skin rash composed of small red bumps and blisters and affects specific areas of the body. Scabies may involve the webs between the fingers, the wrists and the backs of the elbows, the knees, around the waist and umbilicus, the axillary folds, the areas around the nipples, the sides and backs of the feet, the genital area, and the buttocks. The bumps (medically termed papules) may contain blood crusts. It is helpful to know that not every bump is a bug. In most cases of scabies affecting otherwise healthy adults, there are no more than 10-15 live mites even if there are hundreds of bumps and pimples on the skin.

The scabies rash is often apparent on the head, face, neck, palms, and soles of the feet in infants and very young children but usually not in adults and older children.

Textbook descriptions of scabies always mention "burrows" or "tunnels." These are tiny threadlike projections, ranging from 2 mm-15 mm long, which appear as thin gray, brown, or red lines in affected areas. The burrows can be very difficult to see. Often mistaken for burrows are linear scratch marks that are large and dramatic and appear in people with any itchy skin condition. Scratching actually destroys burrows.

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Comment from: Outoftheblue, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 09

I believe I got it from my 6 year old son who lives with his mother. She mentioned he was itching, around the last week of March. After looking at him on April 4th and searching online I quickly came to think scabies. The burrows and tiny skin colored bumps in a line were present. He had had tiny skin color bumps around his waist band, side and back of neck, chest, lower back, and butt area. There were not too many all over, just tiny clusters here and there. The doctor did not agree with me and prescribed prednisolone for him. Around the middle of May, I recall a feeling on my skin like you would when pale skin first got sunburn (more like a hot burning feeling). It was not an itch at the time, more like a need to brush my hand across the skin. I remember standing in the shower a few days later and noticed my entire groin area was brighter in color like a sun burn. My skin looked like a rash at that time. Bumps were not visible, just a blotchy redness. It progressed. I noticed tiny bumps like my son had around the entire area of my boxer shorts and socks. I had bumps on my ankles. It was a few days later that I noticed more bumps in other areas, arms, on knees, behind knees, back, neck, between fingers, and chest. Best way to describe the itching is that as the days went by, the itching was more often and intense and nothing I did would make it go away. Lost a lot of sleep. I finally went back to the same doctor on June 5th because the itching got to the point where I was unable to sleep at night and now the doctor believes it is scabies. He prescribed permethrin cream for me and my son.

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Comment from: beth, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 25

I recently discovered little bumps on the top of my hands that itched pretty badly. They then started to appear on the top of my feet and worked their way up my arms and legs. I went to the emergency room (just moved and don't have a doctor) and she told me she thinks I have scabies. She prescribed me permethrin 5 percent like the rest of you. But I read here that vinegar and salt help. People, vinegar and salt do help!

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