Scabies is an infectious disease in which tiny insects or parasitic mites called scabies fester under the skin. The wingless female burrows under the skin and lays up to three eggs per day. This causes zigzag marks to appear on the skin that become extremely irritated and itchy, and look like a red rash. The worst part is that the eggs that are laid then hatch and new mites begin the cycle all over again! If untreated, the female will continue to lay eggs for about five weeks.
If you are unfortunate enough to contract this disease, you will find the hands, wrists, armpits, buttocks, elbows, inner thighs, genital area and waist (belt line) to be the most commonly affected areas.
Scabies is usually spread through bodily contact and is thus most common in families or where people are in close contact with each other, e.g. flatmates or where lots of people live in one house. If someone contracts scabies it is necessary to wash all clothing (including underwear), bedding and towels in very hot water to assure the mites have been destroyed. Combs, brushes and anything else that your body has been in contact with should also be washed thoroughly.
If you have caught scabies, the first thing you need to do is see your doctor or medical service. He or she will prescribe a special insecticide that you should apply to your body from the neck down after having washed, scrubbed and dried all affected areas. After ridding yourself of the mites, it is important to periodically check for reinfection. If the mites return, repeat the procedure.
It is important that everyone in the house gets treated at the same time to make sure all scabies are gone.