Dermatologists and Skin Care

Itching and Scabies

Written by
Dr. Rabia
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published on Mar 18, 2019 and last reviewed on Jun 29, 2019   -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Itching is an unpleasant sensation, where an individual has a desire to scratch his or her body.

Itching and Scabies

What Is Itching?

Itching is an unpleasant sensation, where an individual has a desire to scratch his or her body. Itching can be caused due to many reasons. We divide itching into two types depending upon the duration, acute and chronic.

What Are the Types of Itching?

Acute Itching

Acute itching can have several reasons, but in dermatology, the majority of cases are of infection and infestations like scabies.

What Is Scabies?

Scabies is an infestation by mites that spread by contact, and that is why members of the same family have a rapid spread of infection. Scabies is characterized by severe itching on the body, especially at night. Along with itching, it is associated with small red papules on the body and can get secondarily infected by bacteria leading to pustules formation. Secondary eczematous changes can also occur over it.

The body parts that are commonly infected are genital areas, hands and feet, between fingers, and female breast area. It usually spares the adult face and scalp area due to the presence of sebaceous glands in that area. Itching of scabies can persist even after the successful treatment of it up to 4 weeks.

How Is Scabies Treated?

For its treatment, the instructions to be followed are:

  • Treatment should be given to all family members whether they have itching or not.
  • Lotions should be applied from the neck down to toe leaving face and scalp area.
  • Treatment should be repeated after1 week for complete eradication of infestation.
  • Clothes and bed linings should be washed in hot boiling water.
  • All family members should be treated at the same time.
  • The medications available for its treatment are Permethrin, Lindane, Crotamiton, Sulphur, Benzyl benzoate, and oral Ivermectin.

Other infections that can present with acute itching are fungal infections or ringworm infections, bacterial infection, urticaria, drug allergy, and contact dermatitis.

Chronic Itching

In chronic cases, systemic diseases like diabetes, thyroid disorders, connective tissue disorders like systemic sclerosis, liver and kidney disease can all have severe itching on the body.

Management of chronic itching is to investigate the underlying cause of itching and to rule out systemic diseases and to treat them accordingly. Apart from that neurological and psychological causes of itching should never be forgotten and underlying anxiety and depression should be ruled out as well.

Last reviewed at:
29 Jun 2019  -  2 min read

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