Q&A for Scabies: A Persistent and Pervasive Parasite

What is the cause of scabies?

A mite called Sarcoptes scabiei causes scabies. The mites that are female create a small tunnel in your skin. These minuscule burrows look like thread, but are hard to spot on the skin. The burrows are used to house the eggs of the mites and their feces.

How can scabies be spread?

Close contact with a person, such as putting your hands on someone with scabies or sleeping in their bed with them can cause scabies. These scabies mites are not able to fly, travel fast, or even jump.

Scabies have about three days to live before they die without a human to house them. In this situation, they have the ability to spread around to others. These are some places that scabies mites might be:

  • Clothes.
  • Bed sheets and blankets.

What happens with scabies?

These mites burrow hastily into the skin. The places they burrow are often wrinkly, or rough. Places such as the knees, elbows, and knuckles are prime locations. Scratching the place where mites are can spread them around your body.

After the mites make their little burrow in your skin, the female mite lays about 10 – 25 eggs. After this, she dies. Then in about 3 days, these eggs will hatch and become larvae. The larvae travel out of their burrow, and to the top of the skin. Then they turn into adults after about 2 weeks. This is a continuous cycle which happens until the extermination of the mites.

Can I catch scabies from an animal?

Scabies mites causing infestations on humans do not infest any pets. This goes the same for scabies mites that infest animals, they do not infest humans. But, they can stay on humans for a long enough time to cause bumps on your skin and hives.

What is the best treatment for scabies?

There are treatments available for scabies. These usually consist of medicated lotions. Consult your doctor if you think that you may be infected with scabies.

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