Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Anyone know anything about how you catch scabies and how contagious they are?

    I know what they are...but am not sure how contagious they are.

    easy child is working at a daycare and one of the women she works with has a boyfriend who has them (he works at a nursing home). Anyway, the woman is being treated and the boss sent her home.

    easy child spent an evening at this woman's house last week hanging out on her couch!! Now she's freaking out because her boss said she should be treated just in case; our Dr called in a cream...but we're just wondering:

    What is the likelihood that she's gotten them?

    I read at that it takes roughly 21 days for the red rash to show up on your skin after the female scabie has burrowed under your skin and laid her eggs. easy child has exzema, but no definitive signs of a rash.

    Anyone have any experience with these little creatures? Ew. I am so boiling all my linens and towels this weekend.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ohhhh....we had this once. Not fun. We never got the lice thing but we went through scabies. Ick. (I just started itching just thinking about

    We caught ours from a puppy we adopted. Scabies is really the same thing as the mange. Nice thought huh. Tony didnt have insurance and treated himself with puppy dip like he did the dog and ended up being allergic to the dip and ended up a huge mess...lmao. Fool.

    I think you can spray your furniture with some spray...and wash all the linens and towels and her clothing. It is really contagious. It goes through the schools easily.

    I hope she doesnt get it. It really itches.
  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I have woods all around my house. Scabies are bugs that you can get under your skin near your ankles and feet. difficult child, me and a neighbor boy all got them once after going out behind our fence in back of our house. We went to the dermatologist, got some prescriptiom calamine lotion type of medication, that was the end of it. Nobody else got them. They looked liked mosquito bites- but cleared up rather quickly. I've never been behind that fence again. You would be looking for mosquito bites, all in a line, that itch extremely bad. You never will see actual bugs.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Scabies in humans are caused by infection with a mite very similar to that which causes "red mange" in pet dogs.

    In fact, humans can actually catch "red mange" from dogs and vice versa (the other mange in dogs: demodectic mange is caused by the demodex mite which lives harmlessly on its preferred humans.

    Scabies has nothing to do with cleanliness. Clearing it up requires treatment with special shampoos and lotions (I think Ivermectin is preferred these days. Used to be they used sulfur/lime for treatment).

    Along with treatment of skin and scalp; bedding, carpets, and furniture need to be treated.
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    just what you guys needed, right?? sheesh

    i have no info i just wanted to say i hope she doesn't get them!!
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Yuck, yuck, yuck. I'm itching all over now. Hopefully you found out soon enough and have taken preventative measures.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Here is to hoping she doesn't have them!!! (and that if she does have them then hope that she doesn't share them).

    All I know about them is that Jess was diagnosis'd with scabies right after my brother came to visit with his dog (eons ago - Jess was 2). We tried the medications and didn't see rapid results so i took her in to the doctor.

    She had eczema and the first doctor totally missed it. The medications were really hard on her skin - they burned, so we were happy to go back to aquaphor and cortisone cream.

    If the doctor says treating is a good idea, then she should be treated. If it is just her boss saying to get treated, well, I would consult a doctor.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I studied scabies years ago, as part of a course on parasitology.

    The important thing is to NOT go rushing around doing more than you need, or you won't have the energy to do whast you HAVE to do. It's like treating head lice - too often we wate time and energy washing bed linen etc in hot water, when all we need to do for nits is dump the laundry (the pillewcases and towels only) in a cold laundry for a few days, then cold wash.

    OK, back to scabies. You need to find out if you have it, before you treat it. The last thing we need is for the greeblies to develop pesticide resistance. Besides, these chemicals can irritate, don't expose yourself to them unless you need to.

    I was always taught that to catch scabies, you need skin to skin contact. Like holding hands, or having sex, or some other skin to skin contact. According to the link above - "Touching, shaking hands, or sharing beds and contaminated objects of an infected person are common modes of transmission."

    As far as use of insecticides is concerned - remember, scabies is a mite. That's an arachnid, not an insect. So insecticides are less effective. Besides, if the mites have done their usual trick they will have burrowed into the skin folds and a topical application of insecticide won't necessarily get them.

    The rash - it's generally not where the mites are. The mites prefer to burrow in the thicker skin layers such as wrists, elbows etc but the rash may break out along the arms, for example. A common mistake for doctors is to do scrapings where the rash is, instead of the thicker areas (often free of rash). The rash is NOT directly caused by the mites, it's actually the response of your body, trying to fight the mites by raising an inflammatory response.

    There's no need to go crazy and boil everything. The important thing to remember, as with head lice - "mites removed from their host can only live a short time". Scabies is even less contagious than head lice. They need body heat, they need a host or they die quickly. You are unlikely to find the scabies mite surviving for long on the couch, for example. They really do need skin contact. You'd only get scabies from the couch, if the person with scabies had skin contact with that couch exactly where YOU have skin contact with that couch, minutes apart at the most. While you might pick up head lice that way, scabies is most unlikely.

    So let's look at the scenario - easy child's friend hasn't been diagnosed, but her boyfriend has (he got them from work). OK, it makes sense for the woman easy child works with to be treated JUST IN CASE. Her boyfriend has probably only recently caught them. If he's ever had scabies before (occupational hazard) then a reinfestation shows up FAST because you begin to itch immediately, so chances are - he has a very light dose. But the girlfriend would need to be treated too, because if she sleeps with her boyfriend or cuddles him in any way (skin to skin) then the chances are high enough to justify treatment.

    As for easy child - if she had skin contact with her friend AND if her friend does have scabies, she MAY have picked up scabies. But according to info I can find - it is PROLONGED skin to skin contact that does it. A handshake won't do it. But an overcrowded nursing home where patients are all sitting close together on a bench, especially bare arms touching bare arms - that can spread it. One website says you need 20 minutes' skin contact, minimum.

    "Mite movement is temperature dependent. The mite is almost immobilised below 20C. Transmission of mites between humans is therefore increased in a warm environment. Human to human contact of about 20 minutes allows the mite to transfer. Transmission also occurs via contaminated clothing, bedding, furniture and contaminated epithelial debris shed from scabetic patients." That last would be mainly from extremely loaded patients, not someone with a mild recent case.

    Don't waste your energy boiling your towels etc. Focus your energy on fabric that has been in skin contact with easy child, but isolate it for a few days. That's all. If you're really concerned, shove it in the freezer. Then wash it.

    Scabies is infectious, it goes through schools fast because kids, especially younger kids, are uninhibited about skin contact in their play. Older kids who have less skin contact are less likely to spred scabies. Again, similar to head lice.

    Upallnight, the scabies you describe - yes, it was a mite but no, not scabies. What you describe sounds like chiggers. They stay in one place and don't migrate through your skin in the same way. Each chiggers bite is a separate mite and where you see it is where it is. And you didn't get it from skin to skin contact, you would have got them from the dirt. Chiggers is not sarcoptes scabiei.

    Janet, I have some news for you ro share with Tony - he won't be happy. Yes, you CAN catch mites from dogs. Technically what you catch is not scabies, but mange. And because the mites from the dogs are NOT happy living on humans, they die within a few days. A human can catch mange but can't sustain an infection. Mites are species-specific.

    So Tony didn't need to treat himself with anything - his infestation would have treated itself and would have been gone in a few days. The itch may have continued a bit longer though, because the itch is your body's allergic reaction to the dander from the mites.

    I did find some info as to how long scabies mites can live when away from the human body - one of the links I've given here says that if you can't de-contaminate earlier or it's too tricky (such as with shoes) then leave them sealed (to avoid contamination through handling in the meantime) for TWO WEEKS. I know head lice only have a matter of hours at most; plus they're bigger, they can crawl further and will find a host by body heat if there is one nearby. Scabies mites are smaller and unless you have a pregnant female looking for a new site and roaming the surface, the mites are more likely to be burrowing in the skin and not on the surface. Sorry to be so graphic - it's a yuk topic.

    So for easy child's peace of mind mainly, she can be treated. She's working at a daycare and she needs to know she's 'clean' of scabies. Hence - yes, treatment is a good idea.

    Maybe you could talk to the doctor about what precautions you need to take in your home. But all the info I can find says to only treat the fabric that was in intimate contact with the affected person.

    So wash stuff that has been in close contact with easy child's skin, or if you don't want to wear out your washing machine, simply stuff it all in a plastic bag and leave it for two weeks. Any mites will be very dead after that time away from the chance of a meal. Mites NEED a host to survive.

    Don't panic. Go carefully, methodically and stay calm. Chances are, she hasn't got it. And if she has - you've got it it quickly, before she's got too big a load. Talk to the doctor, read up on it and don't let it get to you.

  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Marg!!!!- Yes, it was chiggers! (sorry)
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Our Dr gave easy child a cream to apply and leave on for 15 hours. She did it, showered, changed all her bedding, etc. I think we're good. The chances of easy child actually catching the scabies are very slim. She had no skin to skin contact and sat on her couch for about an hour, if that.

    Thanks for all the info, Marg. upallnight, as soon as I read your post, I thought, "Hmm, that sounds like chiggers"! I remember as a kid we'd go to a local sump and try to collect tadpoles - it was very mucky and marshy and my grandmother used to tell us not to go there because we 'might pick up chiggers' - we were clueless and never knew what she was talking about. We just thought she was a crazy old lady! lol.

    I think we're in the clear for now. easy child still has enough for another treatment if necessary.
  11. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    We've had them among some of the 'clients' where I work. From what I understand, it has to be skin-to-skin contact with an affected person for transmission to occur. Clothing and bedding is OK after it has been washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. Things like shoes can be sealed in plastic bags for at least three days, which is long enough for all the mites to die.