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Scabies

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

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

Check if it's scabies

The symptoms of scabies are:

The spots may look red. They are more difficult to see on dark skin, but you should be able to feel them.

Scabies 1
Tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, leaving lines with a dot at one end

Scabies 2
The rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers

Scabies 3
The rash may then spread and turn into tiny spots. This may look red on lighter skin

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

However, older people, young children and those with a weakened immune system may 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.

Let the pharmacist know if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.

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 your home 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.