Scabies is an easily spread skin disease caused by a very small type of mite.
Scabies is found among people of all groups and ages around the world.
Outbreaks of scabies are more common in nursing homes, nursing facilities, college dorms, and child care centers.
The mites that cause scabies burrow into the skin and lay their eggs. This forms a burrow that looks like a pencil mark. Eggs hatch in 21 days. The itchy rash is an allergic response to the mite.
Pets and animals cannot spread human scabies. It is also not very likely for scabies to be spread by:
Mites may be more widespread on a baby's skin, causing pimples over the trunk, or small blisters over the palms and soles.
The doctor will examine your skin for signs of scabies. The doctor will look at scrapilngs taken from a burrow to look for the mites. A skin biopsy can also be done.
Before treatment, wash underwear, towels, and sleepwear in hot water.
Vacuum the carpets and upholstered furniture.
Use calamine lotion and soak in a cool bath to ease itching.
Take an oral antihistamine if your doctor recommends it for very bad itching.
MEDICINES FROM YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
The whole family or sexual partners of infected people should be treated, even if they do not have symptoms.
Creams prescribed by your health care provider are needed to treat scabies.
Apply the medicine all over your body. Creams may be used as a one-time treatment tor they may be repeated in 1 week.
For hard to treat cases, your health care provider may also prescribe a pill known as Ivermectin.
Itching may continue for 2 weeks or more after treatment begins. It will disappear if you follow your health care provider's treatment plan.
Most cases of scabies can be cured without any long-term problems. A severe case with a lot of scaling or crusting may be a sign that the person has a disease such as HIV.
Intense scratching can cause a secondary skin infection, such as impetigo.
Call your health care provider if:
Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chpat 15.
Diaz JH. Scabies. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier;2009:chap 294.
Updated by: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2013, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.