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Scabies – What is it?
Scabies is a tiny parasitic insect that feeds on blood but this insect actually burrows under the skin. They can live on any part of our bodies but tend to prefer the more fleshy parts such as between our fingers and toes, wrists, inside of elbow and knee joints, underarms, abdomen, bust, buttocks and genital area.
These insects are passed from person to person through close and sustained bodily contact including sexual contact. It is possible though not common to be infected by sharing bedding, towels, clothing or by handshakes and similar social contact.
Symptoms typically include:
- itching, irritation and scratching
- a rash of tiny spots
- raw broken skin from intense scratching
- tiny lines or track marks where the insect has burrowed
Treatment for scabies is the same as for pubic lice – a lotion that needs applying over the whole body (bought from pharmacies or prescribed from health care centres) which needs to be left on for between 12 and 24 hours before washing off. This will kill the insects and their eggs. As a precaution it is also advisable to wash bedding and clothes on a hot wash cycle.