SCABIES - Watsons Health


Scabies is a highly contagious skin disease caused by tiny mites that burrow into the skin. Scabies is usually spread through direct contact or sexual contact, especially on active young couple. In some cases, scabies are passed through sharing of personal things such as clothing and towels.

Crusted scabies, a rare but more severe form of scabies, can develop in older people and those with a lowered immunity. In this case, large number of mites is in the skin.

It can take up to eight weeks for the symptoms of scabies to appear after the initial infection. This is known as the incubation period.

The main symptoms of scabies include:

  • Intense Itching- This worsens at night when skin is warmer.
  • Rashes- In burrowed areas of the termites body
  • Small red blotches and silver-colored lines on the skin.

Burrow marks often appear in the following areas:

  • Folds of Skin Between Fingers and Toes
  • Palms of the Hands
  • Soles and Sides of the Feet
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Around the Nipples (in Women)
  • Around the Genital Area (in Men)


Diagnosis procedure involves:

  • Physical Exam- Scabies can be diagnosed by your doctor from the appearance of your skin and by looking for the burrow marks of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. It’s often possible to make a confident diagnosis if more than one family member has the same symptoms.
  • Dermoscopy- A handheld dermoscope is used to have a closer visual examination of the skin and look for mites
  • Ink Test- This test help to rule out other causes of your rashes like eczema or impetigo. If it’s because of scabies, the ink rubbed on the skin will remain, tracing the burrowed area and leaves a dark line.
  • Biopsy- A skin sample may be gently scraped from the affected area so it can be examined under a microscope for evidence of scabies mites, their eggs and faeces (poo).



It’s important to treat scabies promptly because it can be spread to other people easily. Delaying treatment places other people at risk.

Treatments include:

  • Lotions and creams- These are the most common treatment for scabies. Examples are: Permethrin cream, Lindane lotion, Crotamiton (Eurax).
  • Oral Medications- Oral sedative antihistaminesare available to control itching and help you get a better night’s sleep

A month of treatment may completely subside the itching. If not, your GP may recommend repeating the treatment or they may prescribe a different lotion.

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