What Is Scabies?
Scabies is an infestation of mites (tiny insects) characterized by small, red bumps and intense itching. Scabies can affect people of all ages and social classes and is common all over the world. Scabies occurs mostly in children and young adults.
What Causes Scabies?
This highly contagious infection often spreads from person to person while they are sleeping together in the same bed, or during close, personal contact. The itching is caused by the mites burrowing into the skin where they lay eggs that hatch a few days later.
Signs and Symptoms of Scabies
It may take between four to six weeks for a person to develop symptoms of scabies after coming in contact with an infected person.
In children younger than 2 years of age, the lesions caused by the mites tend to occur on the head, neck, palms and soles. In older children and adults, the lesions are usually on the hands, between the fingers, wrists, belt line, thighs, belly button, in the groin area, around the breasts and in the armpits.
The following are the most common symptoms of scabies:
- Itching, usually severe
- Rash, with small pimples or red bumps
- Scaly or crusty skin (with advanced conditions)
Treatment for Scabies
Scabies is treatable, and usually all family members are treated at the same time. Even with treatment, itching can last for another month. Treatment may include:
- Applications of prescription creams and lotions, such as permethrin and lindane solutions
- Oral antihistamine medication to help relieve itching
- Other topical ointments to relieve itching
Our dermatologists also recommend the following home care:
- Machine wash in hot water all bedding, clothes and other washable items and dry in a hot dryer.
- If items cannot be washed, seal them in a plastic bag for at least 2 weeks to kill mites.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.