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Scabies is a highly contagious skin condition that can cause discomfort and distress if left untreated. In the UK, this parasitic infestation is not uncommon, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and proper treatment to prevent its spread and alleviate symptoms.

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Lyclear 5 Dermal Cream

Lyclear 5% Dermal Cream

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  • Used to clear scabies & crab mites
  • Relief from itching within just a few hours
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Permethrin 5 Cream Generic

Permethrin 5% Cream

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  • Topical scabies treatment
  • Generic version of Lyclear
  • Discreet Delivery

What Is Scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by the Sarcoptes Scabiei mite. Scabies is highly contagious, and it often spreads through close personal contact.

The Sarcoptes Scabiei mite has a life cycle that typically lasts for about a month. Female mites burrow into the skin to lay their eggs, which hatch into larvae and eventually mature into adult mites. As the mites reproduce and lay more eggs, the infestation can worsen if left untreated. This life cycle contributes to the persistent and sometimes severe itching and rash that characterise scabies.

What Causes Scabies?

The primary cause of scabies is the Sarcoptes Scabiei mite, which is a microscopic eight-legged creature that burrows into the outer layer of the skin where it lays eggs, leading to the skin irritation associated with the condition.

It is important to understand that scabies is primarily transmitted through close personal contact, such as touching or skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. The mites can also spread indirectly through sharing personal items like clothing, towels, or bedding, which can carry the mites from one person to another.

Scabies mites can also survive for a short time on inanimate objects, like furniture or doorknobs, although they typically do not spread this way. It's crucial to be aware of these less common transmission methods to reduce the risk of infestation.

How Is Scabies Diagnosed?

Scabies can sometimes be self-diagnosed, as it often presents with intense itching and a distinctive rash with small red bumps or blisters. However, a definitive diagnosis should be obtained from a General Practitioner (GP), as scabies symptoms can resemble those of other skin conditions.

Early diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment, as untreated scabies can lead to complications and the spread of the infestation. Healthcare providers can use various methods to diagnose scabies, including a physical examination of the affected area, looking for the characteristic burrows created by the mites. A skin scraping may be taken and examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of scabies mites.

How Is Scabies Treated?

The most common treatment for scabies involves the use of topical creams. These creams typically contain medications like Permethrin, such as Lyclear 5% Dermal Cream, or generic Lyclear. Treatment should also include washing all clothing, bedding, and personal items that may have come into contact with the mites. It is important to treat all family members and close contacts, even if they are not exhibiting symptoms, to prevent reinfection.

In the UK, some scabies treatments are available over-the-counter, but it is advisable to seek a healthcare provider's advice, as they can provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment and ensure that it is used correctly. Prescribed medications may also be necessary for more severe cases.

How to Prevent Scabies Infection?

To avoid infection, individuals should steer clear of close contact with infected individuals, especially during the treatment period. Regular handwashing, maintaining good personal hygiene, and refraining from sharing personal items can reduce the risk of transmission.

In households where scabies is present, it is essential to wash all bedding, clothing, and personal items in hot water to kill any mites that may be present. Vacuuming and cleaning the environment can also help reduce the risk of reinfestation.

For families in close living conditions, such as shared households or dormitories, regular skin checks can be a valuable preventative measure. Early detection of scabies symptoms can lead to swift treatment and containment of the infestation.

Authored By

Dr Giuseppe

Melissa Keen

Medical Content Writer
Melissa is a medical content writer specialising in health and wellness, distinguished by her work with leading UK health brands.

Published on: 31/10/2023

Reviewed By

Dr Giuseppe
Dr. Giuseppe utilises his extensive experience in general practice to ensure the accuracy and safety of the website's content.

Reviewed on: 31/10/2023
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