What Do Scabies Look Like on Human Skin?

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What Do Scabies Look Like on Human Skin?
What Do Scabies Look Like on Human Skin? (Image: Scabies Burrow (Michael Geary/Wikimedia.org))

Scabies are an itchy, contagious skin condition caused by the mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies can resemble other types of skin rash, but there are characteristic hallmark signs and symptoms.

Initial Infestation

An entire scabies infestation begins when one impregnated female scabies mite is transferred from one person to another. However, the Centers for Disease Control notes it takes between four to six weeks for a newly infested person to note signs or symptoms. During this time, scabies can be passed onto others unknowingly.

Scabies Rash

The first sign of scabies on human skin are small, red pimple-like bumps that are extremely itchy. Itching tends to be more severe at night.

Scabies Burrows

The female scabies mite lays her eggs in the top layer of the skin, creating serpentine (zig-zag shaped) burrows. Burrows may be slightly raised and greyish-white or flesh-colored.

Other Indicators

The CDC notes that itching and rash may be localized in certain areas of the body--specifically in the finger webbing, on the inside of the wrists and elbows, under the armpits, around the waist, between the shoulder blades, and around the penis, nipples and buttocks.

Treating Scabies

To identify and treat a scabies infection, an infestation must first be identified by a doctor. The Mayo Clinic states that scabies infestations are typically treated with a prescription topical cream containing permethrin or crotamiton.

Other Scabies Facts

The CDC states that scabies symptoms appear much sooner in a person who has been infested with the mite before--between one and four days after being exposed to scabies.

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