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Scabies is a very contagious skin condition that is caused by a mite that is so small it can only be seen with a magnifying glass or under a microscope. The mite cannot live more than three days without a human host, but it can survive up to a month when living on a human. The mite also lays eggs in human skin, which hatch and grow into adult mites. This means that symptoms of the condition can last for months or even years.
Scabies is almost always spread by protracted skin-to-skin contact with a person who carries the mite. The mites often begin to burrow at the site where they enter the body. Thus, skin transmission during sexual intercourse results in an infestation in the groin area.
It is important to point out that scabies is not always a sexually transmitted disease
(STD) and may be acquired through casual contact. Less commonly, scabies infestation can happen through the sharing of clothes and bedding. Theoretically, you can get scabies from touching something that the mite is on, but that is not a major mode of transmission. The mite only lives for two to three days away from human skin. Scabies mites are not spread by contact with animals or pets.
It is also possible to get reinfected.
If your boyfriend has never been exposed to scabies before, he or she may not show symptoms until four to six weeks after the initial infestation. Individuals who have been exposed in the past usually show symptoms within a few days.
All household members, sexual partners, and other close contacts should be treated at the same time regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. Anyone who has had skin-to-skin contact within the past month should be treated. If a child with scabies attends day care or a person is institutionalized (such as in a nursing home or prison), then staff and others in close contact with the person should be treated. It is best to treat everyone simultaneously to minimize the risk that untreated people will reinfest treated people.
Although you cannot cure a case of scabies without prescription medication from a doctor, there are certain things you can do at home to keep from reinfesting yourself or your family.
•Wash all clothing, towels, and bed linens that you have used in the last three days. Use hot water. You should use the dryer at high heat rather than air drying. Since the mites can survive on nonliving objects for several days, place the objects that are not machine washable (such as coats and stuffed toys) into a bag and store for a week.
•Use the medication as prescribed and instructed. Do not use it more than instructed because you risk causing chemical irritation of your skin.
•You can also treat itching with antihistamine medications such as diphenhydramine
(Zyrtec), and promethazine
•Cut your nails, and clean under them thoroughly to remove any mites or eggs that may be present.
•Thoroughly vacuum your rugs, furniture, bedding, and car interior and throw the vacuum-cleaner bag away when finished.
•Try to avoid scratching. Keep any open sores clean.