Scabies is an allergic response caused by an infestation of a small mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis) that burrows in the skin.

Rash due to scabies infection.
Rash due to infection by Sarcoptes mite.

Symptoms of Scabies

The symptoms of scabies are:

  • Small, red bumps
  • Severe itching, which intensify at night
  • Scaling, crusting, and redness of the skin caused by the scratching
  • Burrows or lines that are slightly raised and about 1/8th inch in length, sometimes with black speck at one end
  • Burrows are often seen in the inner wrist and between the fingers (in the finger web)

Scabies often affect the following area:

  • Finger web
  • Wrist
  • Underarm
  • Genital area, such as scrotum and penis
  • Breast
  • Elbows
  • Buttocks

Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection develop at the site of the scabies infection, especially if the skin is broken through by scratching.

An animal with scabies ticks or mange can cause scabies infection in human. However, this form is usually mild and the mites die within a couple of days without laying eggs.

Canine scabies rash
Abdominal rash in a woman infected with canine scabies.

Cause of Scabies

A mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. This mite lays eggs under the top layer of the skin, which hatches about 7 to 10 days later. These mites caused an allergic reaction.

Sarcoptes scabiei, the mite that transmit scabies.
Sarcoptes scabiei or itch mite.

Is it Contagious?

Yes, scabies is highly contagious. It can be transmitted from people to people by:

  • Direct contact
  • Through shared clothings and towels
  • Pets that are infected by scabies

Treatment of Scabies

Scabies treatment include:

  • Permethrin cream
  • Lindane lotion
  • Oral sedating antihistamine to relieve itching

The topical cream and lotion should be used not only by the person who is affected, but also his or her entire household members.

Mite eggs can persist in clothings and bedsheets, therefore they should be laundered and dried in a dryer under the hot setting daily. If this is not possible, then the infected clothings should be sealed inside a plastic bag for at least 10 days to kill the mites.

Main Menu
Health Articles
Health News
Health Research
Site Map

Health Conditions
Cardiovascular Health
Digestive Health
Infectous Diseases
Musculoskeletal Health
Pregnancy & Childbirth
Skin Health

Misc. Health Articles
Presidential Diseases

Skin Conditions
All Skin Conditions

©copyright 2004 - Health In Plain English. All Rights Reserved.

Health Articles Health News Health Research Explained in Plain English