SCABIES: THE CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS
After the infestation of the mite into the human skin, it takes about 1 to 4 days for the itching to start. A person who has not experienced scabies before usually takes time to react to the human itch mite. Symptoms begin to manifest from 2 to 6 weeks after infestation by the bug.
The clinical manifestations of scabies include the following:
- NOCTURNAL ITCHING:
Intense itching is the most common symptom of scabies. The itching is always more intense at night, making the affected individual stay awake all through the night.
Many people affected by scabies get generalised body rash. This rash leads to the growth of bumps that form a line on the skin. The scabies rash appears like tiny bites, hives, pimples or knots under the skin. Sometimes, the rash becomes scaly in some people.
The itchy rash can result in sores when the patient scratches on it. The sores can concurrently lead to skin infection.
- FORMATION OF CRUSTS:
In a severe form of scabies called crusted scabies or Norwegian scabies, there is the formation of crusts on the skin. This is usually accompanied by numerous rashes and intense itching.
Severe and intense itching experienced in Scabies usually makes the affected persons to continually scratch. This inevitably leads to the development of infection. Continuous scratching can eventually result in sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition in which the blood becomes infiltrated by infection.
Although scabies can develop on any area of the skin, the human itch mites prefer specific body parts. The human itch mites hardly affect the neck. Areas commonly affected are:
- HANDS: The human mites love to burrow in the skin in-between fingers, and around fingernails.
- ARMS:The human mites also burrow in the wrists and elbows.
- FREQUENTLY COVERED BODY PARTS:The skin areas usually covered by clothing or jewellery such as the buttocks, penis, beltline, the skin around the nipples, are vulnerable sites for the human mites to burrow.
SCABIES IN CHILDREN
When scabies affects children, it appears as a widespread rash that covers most of the body. The child’s palms, scalp and soles are also infested by the human mites.
The appearance of rash on the palms and soles is common in babies affected by scabies. The baby will become so irritable and often refuse to eat or sleep. The intense itching can make them stay awake all night.
Scabies rash in infants and young children is characterised by small, pus-filled pores that cover the soles.
In a severe form of scabies called crusted scabies or Norwegian scabies, there is the formation of crusts on the skin. Numerous rashes and intense itching usually accompany this.
Norwegian scabies is a severe form of scabies involving the presence of about 1000 mites or more in the skin of affected individuals. On average, about 15 to 20 mites are found on the skin in mild cases of scabies.
Crusted scabies usually affects individuals with a weak immune system, which could be as a result of certain medical conditions. It also prevails among the elderly. In crusted scabies, the person’s body is unable to resist the activities of the human mites.
The primary clinical manifestation of crusted scabies is the appearance of widespread crusts on the skin. These crusts are prone to thicken or easily crumble. These scabies crusts usually appear greyish and on more than one area of the body.