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Americans suffer from a wide variety of skin disorders. One of the most common skin disorders, for example, is acne, which affects 40 to 50 million Americans or about 85% of people during their lifetime.

Another, lesser known skin condition is called scabies. An infestation of scabies mites causes this condition when it burrows beneath the top layer of skin to eat and lay eggs. It may not be obvious at first that you are infected. Scabies symptoms often take up to eight weeks to appear, and include itchy rashes, blisters, as well as sores caused by itching the rashes that develop. Thick crusts can develop from more severe forms of scabies.

Still a Problem Around the Country
According to the Boston Globe, an investigation is being launched into Woodbriar Health Center following a scabies outbreak that affected more than three dozen residents in the dementia unit.

Prevention for Scabies
How is scabies spread? Sexual contact is the most common route, since it is transferred through skin-to-skin contact — it is in fact the most common form of transmission among young people who are sexually active. Using the same clothing or bedding as someone with scabies can also allow the mites to transfer.

Treatment for Scabies
Anytime someone is diagnosed with scabies, it is important that their entire household takes measures to prevent it from spreading. Anyone potentially exposed should be treated in order to prevent re-infestation. Dermatologists advise that all clothing and bedding used in the three days prior to treatment needs to be hot washed and dried, or sealed in a plastic bag as scabies cannot live longer than three days away from human skin.

There are numerous oral and topical scabicidal drugs used to treat scabies. A doctor’s prescription is needed; there are no over-the-counter products that can be used to successfully treat scabies. Topical scabicides need to be applied to all areas of the body.

Cosmetic dermatologists say that patients with sensitivity to mites, their eggs and/or feces could experience itchy skin for several weeks after treatment. If the itching continues or if new burrows are discovered, re-treatment might be necessary.

If you have any questions about appropriate treatment or prevention for scabies, get in touch with a dermatologist clinic today.

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