How to Recognize and Treat Scabies

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Scabies Rash
Scabies Rash (Image: cdc.gov)

When a person is infested with scabies mites the first time, symptoms usually do not appear for up to 2 months (2-6 weeks). An infested person still can spread scabies during that time even though he/she does not have symptoms. If a person has had scabies before, symptoms appear much sooner (1-4 days) after exposure. An infested person can transmit scabies, even if they do not have symptoms, until they are successfully treated and the mites and eggs are destroyed.

Common symptoms are: severe itching, especially at night and a pimple like skin rash caused by a reaction to the proteins and feces of the parasite. Common rash sites in adults are between fingers, wrist, elbow, armpit, ****, nipple, waist, buttocks, and shoulder blades. Common rash sites on infants and young children are the head, face, neck, palms, and soles of feet.

Lotions and creams that kill scabies mites and their eggs are available only with a doctor's prescription. No "over-the-counter" products have been tested and approved to treat scabies. The instructions contained in the box or printed on the label always should be followed carefully. Always contact a doctor or pharmacist if unsure how to use a particular medicine.

Scabies Mite
Scabies Mite

Always apply the scabies medicine to all areas of the body from the neck down to the feet and toes. Infants and young children should have the medicine applied to their head & neck too because scabies affects their face, scalp, neck, and rest of their body. Always apply the medicine to a clean body and leave on for the recommended time. Clean clothing should be worn after treatment.

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