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: Mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 17

I don't know where I got scabies. I have a friend who had lice and I sat in his car for a little while. I got red bites on one leg and used some old medication for lice that I kept when my husband had it while he was homeless 10 years ago. It went away and I was fine, until I put the same pants back on that I wore when I was in my friend's car. Of course, the pants were washed and dried, and were clean or so I thought. Then I got bites on my shoulders and back. That was two months ago, and I have been using permethrin 5%. I go back to the doctor tomorrow and I hope she gives me a pill for it. It's horrible to have this. I never had this when I was homeless as a teen. I am clean, shower daily, and I still have this. I will try the Lysol treatment. I have seen there is a natural treatment for it, but it is about $80. I'm thinking of ordering it if this doesn't go away. I do have three cats but I read that it couldn't be from them. I'd like to get rid of these soon.

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Comment from: Bijouxsha, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I contracted scabies at the gym. I noticed a man with weird spots all over his legs and we were using the same machines. About four weeks later, I had a pimple-like spot on my forearm. I thought it was a pimple and squeezed it. It created a huge crater and only pus (or so I thought) came out. Then I began to get areas of irritation all over my body. The worst area was in my armpit the itching at night was horrible. After two weeks, I figured out it was scabies. Here is how I got rid of them: Permethrin 5% cream. Change sheets daily. If I sat on furniture, I sat on a sheet and then washed it. I also got some tea tree oil and mixed 1 part tea tree oil with 4 parts vitamin E oil and coated myself in it every night for the past few weeks. I slept in full clothing, including socks on my hands. I also put tea tree oil in my hair, just to be sure. My husband and I reinfected each other several times, but eventually we got rid of them. I itched for another month afterwards, but stopped getting the red bumpy areas within a few days. This was the worst month of my life, and I spent nearly $300 between the doctor, water bills, bandages, and creams, etc.

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