“Alis Galis”– A Look at Scabies

Photo Credit : ihomeremedy.net

 You are probably familiar with “galis” or “kati” as it is a common skin condition not only here in the Philippines but in other countries as well. It can affect any person, regardless of race and social class. “Galis” or “kati”, also known as Scabies is a highly contagious skin disease that should not be taken lightly. Places that are often crowded like nursing care facilities, prisons etc., are often sites of the outbreak of scabies.

You might think that it is a simple bug bite causing rashes to your skin that will go away even if left untreated, but NO! It won’t go away by itself– it needs treatment that’s why it is helpful to know some basic facts about scabies. Scabies, as mentioned above, is highly contagious. The disease is caused by the eight-legged female itch mites Sarcoptes scabiei that burrows into the skin. However, individuals that are newly infected may not see symptoms for 4-6 weeks.

It can spread easily on the entire household– An infected individual can spread the disease through direct and prolonged skin-to-skin contact and/or sharing of personal items like clothes, towels, etc. Generally, remember the term “direct and prolonged contact”–so you don’t have to worry about simple hug or a quick handshake, this cannot spread scabies.

What are the main symptoms of Scabies?
The hallmark of scabies is intense itching that usually worsens at night, robbing you of a peaceful and uneventful sleep.
Tiny burrows (that sometimes look like a raised lines) can be seen on the skin surface. These blisters that look like hives and tiny bug bites can be seen in the areas all over the body. These become patches of small, pus-filled bumps that will eventually develop into sores when the individual affected scratches the bumps. Scratching is not really a good idea as it only worsens the condition (spreading it to other parts of the body) and it also makes you more prone to infection.

The rashes can occur in almost any part of the body but these are the most commonly affected:
-In between the fingernails/toenails
-Genitals
-Elbow
-Armpit
-Underneath rings/bracelets or other accessories
-Palm
-Scalp

Diagnosing scabies:

Your doctor can diagnose scabies by the following:
Asking if you had any recent close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with scabies.

Examining a skin sample scraped from a suspected affected area in your body under a microscope which can confirm whether or not the sample is infected with Sarcoptes scabiei.

Treatment of scabies:
As mentioned above, scabies is not the type of disease that will eventually subside without treatment and go away on its own. You have to take a medicine to treat it. The goal of the treatment is to treat the rash/es and totally destroy and kill the mites on the skin of the infected person.

A topical cream and/or lotion to be applied to the surface of the skin affected may be prescribed by your doctor. Another option is an oral medication for adults (this type is not recommended for children and pregnant mothers and older adults as this can have dangerous side effects). It is always best to consult your doctor about the type of medication you should take if you have scabies.

How can you prevent scabies:
Early detection for early treatment. Recognizing the rashes before it can spread to other parts of the body would be helpful to treat it quickly.

Good personal hygiene. Always keep yourself clean. Take a daily bath with soap and water and change into clean undergarments/underwear.

Avoid sharing personal belongings to anyone. You’ll never know if the person is infected with scabies (or other diseases).

If you already have it:

Avoid scratching the rashes/blisters as this will only cause rupture of the blisters and further spreading it to other parts of your body.

For the time being (that you are still undergoing treatment for scabies) separate your personal belongings to avoid contaminating other members of the family.

© 2014, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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  • There are three natural oils that can help get rid of scabies: neem oil, peppermint oil, and tea-tree oil. These are industrial-strength oils so be sure to test them on a small patch of sin before covering your entire body with them. You do not want to have an allergic skin reaction. If they are too strong, they can be diluted with vegetable oil. Use any of these three oils the same you would citrus except you do not rinse these off. Pour a small amount into the palm of your hand and spread over the body as you would lotion. This can be a daily routine untill remove your scabies.