What is Staphylococcus aureus?
Staphylococcus aureus, often simply referred to simply as “staph”, are bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people.
Occasionally, staph can cause infection; staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States.
Most of these infections are minor (such as pimples, boils, and other skin conditions) and most can be treated without antimicrobial agents (also known as antibiotics or antibacterial agents).
However, staph bacteria can also cause serious and sometimes fatal infections (such as bloodstream infections, surgical wound infections, and pneumonia).
In the past, most serious staph bacterial infections were treated with a type of antimicrobial agent related to penicillin. Over the past 50 years, treatment of these infections has become more difficult because staph bacteria have become resistant to various antimicrobial agents, including the commonly used penicillin-related antibiotics.
What is scabies?
Scabies is an infestation of the skin with the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. Infestation is common, found worldwide, and affects people of all races and social classes.
Scabies spreads rapidly under crowded conditions where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact between people, such as in hospitals, institutions, child-care facilities, and nursing homes.
What are the signs and symptoms of scabies infestation?
- Pimple-like irritations, burrows or rash of the skin, especially the webbing between the fingers; the skin folds on the wrist, elbow, or knee; the penis, the breast, or shoulder blades.
- Intense itching, especially at night and over most of the body.
- Sores on the body caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected with bacteria.
How did I get scabies?
By direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person already infested with scabies. Contact must be prolonged (a quick handshake or hug will usually not spread infestation). Infestation is easily spread to sexual partners and household members.
Infestation may also occur by sharing clothing, towels, and bedding.
Who is at risk for severe infestation?
People with weakened immune systems and the elderly are at risk for a more severe form of scabies, called Norwegian or crusted scabies.
How long will mites live?
Once away from the human body, mites do not survive more than 48-72 hours. When living on a person, an adult female mite can live up to a month.
How soon after infestation will symptoms begin?
For a person who has never been infested with scabies, symptoms may take 4-6 weeks to begin. For a person who has had scabies, symptoms appear within several days. You do not become immune to an infestation.
How is scabies infestation diagnosed?
Diagnosis is most commonly made by looking at the burrows or rash. A skin scraping may be taken to look for mites, eggs, or mite fecal matter to confirm the diagnosis. If a skin scraping or biopsy is taken and returns negative, it is possible that you may still be infested. Typically, there are fewer than 10 mites on the entire body of an infested person; this makes it easy for an infestation to be missed.
Can scabies be treated?
Yes. Several lotions are available to treat scabies. Always follow the directions provided by your physician or the directions on the package insert. Apply lotion to a clean body from the neck down to the toes and left overnight (8 hours). After 8 hours, take a bath or shower to wash off the lotion. Put on clean clothes. All clothes, bedding, and towels used by the infested person 2 days before treatment should be washed in hot water; dry in a hot dryer. A second treatment of the body with the same lotion may be necessary 7-10 days later. Pregnant women and children are often treated with milder scabies medications.
Who should be treated for scabies?
Anyone who is diagnosed with scabies, as well as his or her sexual partners and persons who have close, prolonged contact to the infested person should also be treated. If your health care provider has instructed family members to be treated, everyone should receive treatment at the same time to prevent reinfestation.
How soon after treatment will I feel better?
Itching may continue for 2-3 weeks, and does not mean that you are still infested. Your health care provider my prescribe additional medication to relieve itching if it is severe. No new burrows or rashes should appear 24-48 hours after effective treatment.
(Head Lice Infestation)
What are head lice?
Also called Pediculus humanus capitis (peh-DICK-you-lus HUE-man-us CAP-ih-TUS), head lice are parasitic insects found on the heads of people. Having head lice is very common; as
many as 6-12 million people worldwide get head lice each year.
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
Anyone who comes in close contact with someone who already has head lice, contaminated clothing, and other belongings. Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-10, and their families are infested most often. Girls get head lice more often than boys, women more than men. In the United States, African-Americans rarely get head lice.
What do head lice look like?
There are three forms of lice: the nit, the nymph, and the adult.
Nit: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are found firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow
to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch.
Nymph: The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching. To live, the nymph must
feed on blood.
Adult: The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will look darker. Females lay nits; they are usually
larger than males. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person's head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person, it dies within 2 days.
Where are head lice most commonly found?
On the scalp behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the neck. Head lice hold on to hair with hook-like claws found at the end of each of their six legs. Head lice are rarely found on
the body, eyelashes, or eyebrows.
What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?
- Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.
- Itching, caused by the an allergic reaction to the bites.
- Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected.