What are “scabies” and can we see the bugs? A scabies infestation is caused by the human itch mite. The mite is a parasite that you can only see with a microscope.
How do I catch it? Usually, scabies is spread by direct, skin-to-skin contact with another person who has it. Also, the contact must be prolonged, meaning over a long period of time. It is also possible to spread scabies indirectly by sharing clothing, towels, or bedding used by an infested person.
What are the symptoms? The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching, especially at night, and a pimple-like rash. The rash may affect the whole body or be limited to common sites such as the wrist, elbow, armpit, webbing between the fingers, nipple, penis, waist, belt-line, and buttocks. The rash also can include tiny blisters and/or scales.
How long do the mites live and how long can scabies last? When living on a host, the mites can live up to 2 months, however will not survive more than 72 hours when not on a host. A scabies infestation will continue until it is treated.
What does scabies treatment consist of? Anyone who has been diagnosed with an infestation should be treated, as well as persons in the same household & sexual partners. A prescribing provider must prescribe a medication to be applied to the skin to treat the infestation.
If you’re concerned that there may be a scabies infestation, here’s what to do next:
If you think you may be infected, see your Primary Care Provider immediately so that he/she can prescribe treatment. Follow all treatment instructions fully; use the CDC website for further education & direction if needed.
If you rent your home and think there may be an infestation, call your Landlord to report the problem. If you get no response in a timely manner, contact your municipality’s Code Enforcement Officer
If you are in a public place (such as hotel or motel, gym, or other venue) – contact the manager of the establishment. If immediate response is not provided, contact the Environmental Office for your local Health Department. In Saratoga County, the Environmental Services Office is provided through the New York State Department of Health Regional District Office (518-793-3893).
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