The efficiency of existing scabies treatments depends on factors such as the patient’s age and overall health, the accuracy of the diagnosis, the stage of progression of the skin disease and the speed of medical intervention. While the treatment of scabies is usually efficient in eradicating the infestation with scabies mites in healthy patients, killing the intruding parasitic organisms in at most 10 days of correct administration, existing scabies treatments are less efficient when administered to very young patients (infants and babies), elderly patients and patients with impaired immune system. Such categories of patients generally require a longer course of scabicide medications (medications that kill the parasitic scabies mites), which should be administered both under the form of creams, gels and lotions for external use and oral capsules or tablets (to maximize efficiency).
It is important to understand that even if the infestation with scabies mites is rapidly eradicated, the symptoms of scabies may persist for as well as 14 days after the mites have been killed. This is primarily due to the fact that scabicides are aimed at eliminating the cause of scabies, not its effects (such medications kill the scabies mites but rarely include pharmaceutical agents that control the existing symptoms of scabies). Secondarily, even with the help of medications that are aimed at controlling scabies rash, inflammation, discomfort, soreness and itch, such symptoms can persist until the body skin completely eliminates the mites’ toxic carcasses, inactive eggs, secretions and feces which continue to produce allergic reactions.
The accuracy and the speed of diagnosis have a very important role in the treatment of scabies. Considering that scabies produces a wide variety of non-specific symptoms (rash and skin inflammation are also symptoms of other skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis or chicken pox), doctors may sometimes decide upon an erroneous diagnosis if they only rely on patients’ reports of symptoms and clinical examinations. Scabies can be properly diagnosed only after finding clear signs of infestation with scabies mites. In order to reveal conclusive evidence of the mites’ presence on a patient’s skin, doctors often take a sample of affected skin for elaborate analysis under the microscope (the procedure is simple and painless, as only a superficial layer of skin is collected for analysis). If the skin samples contain mite eggs or feces squeezed in tiny borrows, then the patient is diagnosed with scabies and is given the appropriate treatment.
While a timely prescribed treatment is more efficient in eradicating the infestation with scabies mites (the mites are killed before they have the chance to proliferate) and prevents the intensification of existing symptoms, a lately prescribed treatment may have decreased potency (due to formation of crust at the surface of the affected skin, crust that prevents the local treatment from being properly absorbed into the skin). In addition, an early prescribed scabies treatment can neutralize the contagious character of scabies, preventing the mites from contaminating other persons who interact with the afflicted patient. Thus, speed of medical intervention is crucial in the treatment of scabies.
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