There aren't many things yuckier than being eaten alive by a mite. Scabies symptoms can range from an itchy rash that looks like pimples, to squiggly red lines where they've burrowed under the victim's flesh. Knowing the signs and symptoms of scabies is important for diagnosis and prevention. Norwegian scabies and regular scabies have different symptoms.
From the time a person is first exposed to scabies, the human itch mite, they are contagious to others but the symptoms may not show up for up to two months. People who have already had scabies may show symptoms as soon as one day after exposure.
Since scabies mites are microscopic, many people are surprised to realize that they're sharing their skin with another creature. Scabies is identified by recognizing the burrows, which look like squiggly red lines just beneath the surface of the skin. Another telltale symptom is the allergic reaction to their feces, which appears as itchy red bumps that often resemble pimples.
The earliest symptom of scabies is severe itching, especially in the evening. The itching may be localized to common areas such as the wrists, elbows, armpits, between the fingers, nipples, waist, buttocks, shoulder blades or penis. For small children, the face, head, neck, palms and soles are also often the first to start itching.
The tiny red lines that are symptoms of a scabies mite infestation may be more difficult to find. Believe it or not, the body is considered infested when it has only one mite inhabiting; a severe infestation may only have 15 mites in residence. The female scabies mite lays her eggs in burrows just beneath the skin and these are visible as teeny squiggly red lines that may be at the wrists, the crook of the knee, the armpit, the breasts or the penis.
Crusted Norwegian Scabies is a different breed, a patient, usually the elderly or the immune-compromised, can be infected with 2 million of these mites at once. The parasite is spread in the same way that the other variety of scabies is spread, but is considered highly contagious, and great caution is taken to separate the patient from all other human contact. The symptoms are large pussy looking vesicles combined with thick layers of crusted skin, in which thousands of mites can live in one sore. These victims don't often feel itchy because their immune system is compromised and the itching is an immunologic response.
Scabies patients, and everyone living in their home, should be treated immediately with a full-body creme to kill the scabies and their unborn eggs. Failure to treat scabies completely can result in re-infestation. It's also possible that persistent scratching of itchy skin can result in bacterial infections, like MRSA. When a physician prescribes treatment for Scabies, she often sends the family home with antibiotic cream, in order to treat skin with lesions from scratching.