Scabies Facts

Published on: April 4, 2017

A bumpy, itchy rash is the first sign that a person may have scabies. This common disease is an infestation of human mites that burrow under the skin and cause irritation. Although there are certain risk factors, anyone can contract scabies, regardless of their race, gender, age or social-economic status. Here are a few facts about scabies, including prevention and scabies treatment options.

Scabies Basics

Scabies are tiny skin mites that only affect humans. These small parasites are not contracted from other animals, only spread between humans. Scabies burrow under the skin to lay their eggs, causing an itchy sensation and a pimple-like rash. It can take as long as six weeks for symptoms to appear after the initial exposure to these mites through skin-to-skin contact or through sharing linens or clothes within an infected person.

Diagnosing Scabies

The rash and itching are the most common signs of a scabies infestation. There are also evidence of burrows in the skin. Diagnosis is completed at a doctor’s office by scraping an area and viewing the sample under a microscope to identify mites or eggs.

Treatment of Scabies

A dermatologist can treat scabies by prescribing special medication that can be applied to the skin to kill the mites and the unhatched eggs. This scabies treatment medication is only available through a physician – no over-the-counter options effectively treat scabies.


Scabies are usually only spread from prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Avoiding contact with an infected person until they are treated is the best option for prevention. All bedding and clothing used by an infected person should be washed and dried in high heat to kill the mites. Mites can only live about 72 hours on surfaces, so isolation can effectively kill mites as well.

Posted on behalf of:
Northwest Georgia Dermatology
141 Lacy Street, Suite 200
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 426-7177

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