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Scabies

Scabies is a very itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites burrowing into your skin.

The main symptom of scabies is a very itchy rash, often starting between the fingers.

Scabies is usually treated with creams and lotions from a pharmacy. It can spread easily from person to person.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of scabies is a very itchy rash, often starting between the fingers.

Check if it's scabies

One of the first symptoms is intense itching, especially at night.

Silvery lines on a hand caused by scabies mitesTiny mites lay eggs in the skin, leaving silvery lines with a dot at 1 end.

A scabies rash on the handThe rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers.

Red spots on the skin caused by scabiesThe rash spreads and turns into tiny red spots.

The scabies rash usually spreads across the whole body, apart from the head.

Elderly people, young children and those with a weakened immune system may also develop a rash on their head and neck.

Read more on the NHS website.

Scabies is usually treated with creams and lotions from a pharmacy. It can spread easily from person to person.

Medical treatments

Scabies is not usually a serious condition, but it does need to be treated.

A pharmacist will recommend a cream or lotion that you apply over your whole body. It's important to read the instructions carefully.

You'll need to repeat the treatment 1 week later.

Scabies is very infectious, but it can take up to 8 weeks for the rash to appear.

Everyone in the household needs to be treated at the same time, even if they do not have symptoms.

Anyone you have had sexual contact with in the past 8 weeks should also be treated.

Self-care


Do

  • wash all bedding and clothing in the house at 50C or higher on the first day of treatment
  • put clothing that cannot be washed in a sealed bag for 3 days until the mites die
  • stop babies and children sucking treatment from their hands by putting socks or mittens on them

Don't

  • do not have sex or close physical contact until you have completed the full course of treatment
  • do not share bedding, clothing or towels with someone with scabies

How long it takes to get rid of scabies

You or your child can go back to work or school 24 hours after the first treatment.

Although the treatment kills the scabies mites quickly, the itching can carry on for a few weeks.

Read more on the NHS website.