Scabies patients can resume normal activity after 24 hours of treatment
Any person afflicted with scabies can resume normal activity after 24 hours of treatment, according to a specialist doctor.
The treatment is ruled effective if the severe itching stops after a week of treatment, although in some cases symptoms continue for three weeks, Dr. Nayef bin Hamdan Al Otaibi, an internal and infectious diseases consultant at the King Saud University's Medical City, said.
He stressed the importance of following preventive steps such as washing clothes and beddings with hot water, drying and ironing, and the use of plastic insulators.
Scabies is a disease resulting from the parasitic human itch mite "sarcoptes scabiei,” which burrows in the upper layer of the human skin and lays eggs. It usually spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or by using their contaminated clothing, beddings and towels.
Dr. Nayef pointed out that there are two types of scabies: the first is the "classic scabies,” which is common and causes severe itching. The second is "crusted scabies,” which usually affects people who have weak immune systems.
The second type is more severe than the first. Persons with crusted scabies have thick crusts of skin that contain a large number of scabies mites and eggs. Crusted scabies is contagious and can spread easily by both direct skin-to-skin contact and through contaminated items.
Dr. Nayef assured patients that the disease in general has no serious complications. In case there are some complications, they will be no more than secondary bacterial infections of the skin layers.
The diagnosis is reached by studying some samples under the microscope to confirm the presence of the mite.
The treatment of scabies usually is to cover the whole body from neck to feet with the topical cream Permethrin and other similar creams. The medication should be left on the body for eight to 14 hours before it is washed off. There are also oral medications, Dr. Nayef said.