The itchy rash on your skin could be caused by scabies---also known as the "human itch mite." Scabies can infest anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or social standing. But there are numerous misconceptions about how the scabies mite infests humans.
Do You Get Scabies From Playing in the Dirt?
The simple answer is no. Scabies must have a human host to survive. The female mite lays eggs under the skin in serpentine burrows, usually where skin touches, for example, the crooks of the elbows or finger webbing. Scabies won't live long away from humans--according to the Centers for Disease Control, around 72 hours.
Where Do Scabies Live?
Scabies live on other people. All it takes is one impregnated female scabies mite to cause a human infestation. You may not show symptoms for four to six weeks after you get scabies.
To get scabies, you must have sustained physical contact with someone with scabies. Children can get scabies from playmates. When adults get scabies, most of the time, it's through sexual contact.
Are Some People More At Risk for Scabies?
Infestations are more common in places where people are in close proximity, says the CDC, such as prisons, extended-care facilities and day care centers.
Getting Rid of Scabies
See a doctor to diagnose your condition and prescribe a topical lotion called a scabicide to kill the mites on your skin.
Where Else Scabies Live
Scabies can linger in clothing, linens, and towels. The CDC recommends laundering everything two to three days prior to treatment.