Bumps, itches, dryness, and rashes are uncomfortable and unsightly skin problems that many people deal with at some point in their life. Scabies and eczema, while very different in nature, provide some similar symptoms that may be confused with the other. It is important to know the big differences about the two, but also to get the facts about each one separately. If you are showing symptoms of either of these conditions you should consult medical advice.
Important Things To Know About Eczema
1. What It Is
Eczema is a non infectious condition of the skin that causes patches of the skin to become itchy, red, and dry. It is an incurable conditions that many people suffer with on a daily basis.
Skin irritants are the number one cause of eczema. Some examples of common irritants include laundry detergents, cleaners, and soaps. Allergens, temperature, food, and hormones can all also trigger an eczema episode.
Eczema can appear on any part of the body, certain characteristics separate eczema from other common skin conditions. The most common symptoms include intense itching, an “oozing”, scaly areas of skin, red or inflamed skin, dry and sensitive, leathery patches, and swelling.
Because eczema is an incurable condition the only treatment options available are merely for symptom management. Over the counter medicines and creams like hydrocortisone, antihistamines, and corticosteroids are some options. You can also take steps to change certain aspects of your lifestyle in order to help prevent an outbreak from occurring or worsening. Using only mild soaps and lotions that will not dry out your skin is one of the most important steps you can take. Avoiding prolonged exposure to water, like baths or long showers, will also help.
Facts About Scabies
1. Not A Skin Infection
One big misconception about scabies is that it is simply an infection of the skin. This is untrue. It is an infestation of the skin. Scabies is caused by numerous little mites, called Sarcoptes scabiei, which burrow into the skin and make a home there. It causes a severe and painful rash which is highly contagious.
Since scabies is very contagious, it is important to understand the exact way that it can spread. The most common spread of this condition is from skin to skin contact, often during sexual intercourse. Some people consider scabies a sexually transmitted disease (STD). While skin to skin is the most common form of transmission, scabies can also be spread from clothing that the mites have infested.
Once a person has come into contact with scabies it can take quite some time before symptoms present themselves, up to six weeks to be exact. This is because the rash doesn’t develop due to the mites presence, but because of an allergic reaction to their eggs, saliva, and waste. The symptoms of scabies are severe itching that is worse at night, many small, red, raised bumps on the skin and blisters from extensive scratching. The most common areas for scabies to make an appearance are on the wrist, genitals, beltline, or armpit in adults. For infants and young children they are most common on the head, neck, palms, and face.
If you are diagnosed with scabies your doctor will give you a prescription for a topical ointment designed to kill the mites. Sulfur ointment, benzyl benzoate lotion, and permethian cream are among the most common. Even if only a small area is infested, your doctor will likely tell you to treat all of the skin from the neck down. This is because they may have spread to another region on your body and you just have not yet began to show symptoms. The medicine is applied at night before bed, because this is when the mites are the most active, and then washed off immediately after you wake up. Other medications may be prescribed to help ease some of the painful symptoms. You are required to continue this treatment for up to a month, and if after that time you are still experiencing symptoms, the mites may not have reacted to the medicine and further treatment will be required.
If you or someone close to you has come in contact with or been diagnosed with scabies it is highly important to take preventative measures in order to ensure that the scabies do not spread. Washing all clothes, bedding, and other cloth material is the first step you should take. You should wash everything in water that gets to 122 degrees F to ensure that you kill the mites. You should also use bleach and hot water on all surfaces.
Differences Between Eczema and Scabies
Eczema is a skin condition that is not contagious, even through direct contact. It is something that a person can keep to themselves. Scabies on the other hand is highly contagious. Any form of contact with skin that is infested with scabies could potentially infect a person.
Scabies is a curable condition, and medicines can be prescribed to rid a person of the mites. Eczema is a non curable condition. Symptoms can only be managed. A person with eczema will have eczema for their entire life.
3. No Bugs On Me
The biggest difference between a scabies infestation and eczema is that scabies is caused by bugs. Tiny mites that burrow into the skin are the cause of discomfort and rash that comes with scabies. Eczema is a condition and problem with the skin itself, no other foreign bodies.