How to Recognize a Scabies Mite

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The scientific name for a scabies mite is Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. It is most commonly referred to as the human itch mite. A person becomes infected with scabies when a female scabies mite burrows in to and under the skin. The female then crawls along day after day laying eggs. These eggs eventually hatch and do the same thing. Scabies causes intense itching and is highly contagious. It is important to recognize scabies and get treatment immediately to prevent it from spreading.

Close up of mites on fabric.
Close up of mites on fabric.

Step 1

Notice whether you are mostly scratching your skin at night. Scabies are well known for causing excessive itching at night.

Inflamed skin from bug bites.
Inflamed skin from bug bites.

Step 2

Consider where your rash is located. Scabies can be found all over, but are commonly seen on the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, armpits, inner thighs, heels of the feet and around the waist.

Itchy foot.
Itchy foot.

Step 3

Look closely at the rash. Scabies often leave a zig zag pattern in the form of tiny blisters as they lay their eggs. If you have spent quite some time scratching this area, it may appear as just an ordinary red rash.

Rash on foot.
Rash on foot.

Step 4

Visit your local dermatologist if you notice the above symptoms, and have him take a scraping of your rash. The only way to positively identify a scabies mite is to look at it under a microscope. A dermatologist is qualified to do this. He will also be able to prescribe you a cream that will get rid of the scabies.

Dermatologists can help identify rashes.
Dermatologists can help identify rashes.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you wash all of your clothing in hot water that reaches at least 120 degrees F. after treating your skin. Otherwise, the mites may survive on your clothing.
  • Repellents are not effective against scabies mites.

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