Scabies is a skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin and cause very itchy skin. Scabies can affect people of all ages, social economic backgrounds, and those with good hygiene procedures. Scabies is highly contagious, and a person who is infected will need to be seen by a doctor right away.
Scabies mites are spread by close contact with someone who is infected. Sharing towels, bed sheets, and other personal items can also cause scabies to spread from one person to another. Families are often infected as scabies is spread through all members simply by living in tight quarters together.
Severe itching is the number one symptom of scabies. The itching is typically worse at night and will cause tiny blisters or sores. Severe itching is more common in small children and adults, while children typically have worse skin rashes.
Scabies will not go away on their own. Your doctor will need to prescribe a special cream or lotion that will have to be applied to the infected skin. In severe cases, medications in pill form will have to be taken. Some medicines are not safe for children, older adults, or pregnant women. Your doctor will have to take in these factors to determine the best scabies treatment for your situation. All persons that you are or have been in close contact with lately must also be treated. Clothes, towels, bed linens, etc. will need to be washed carefully, and separately, from other items to keep from spreading.
Once treatment starts, itching from scabies will usually last for 2-4 weeks. If the itching continues after 4 weeks, another treatment may be needed. Your doctor will help to treat your case, and your family’s, taking specific considerations into account.
Posted on behalf of Dr. John Kayal, Northwest Georgia Dermatology