How to Kill a Scabies Mite

Scabies, a contagious, itchy skin condition caused by a minuscule burrowing mite, can be effectively treated. If you experience scabies, the urge to scratch may be especially strong at night. You may notice thin, irregular burrow tracks consisting of tiny blisters or bumps on your skin. Consult your doctor if you have symptoms of scabies.


    • 1

      Apply prescription medication all over your body, from your neck down, and leave the medication on for at least eight hours. When treating infants and young children, medication should also be applied to the head and neck. Leave on for the time your doctor recommends before washing. Your doctor may write a prescription for permethrin 5 percent or lindane, medications that are applied twice in a week, or crotamiton, applied once a day for two to five days. Your doctor may prescribe the oral medication ivermectin if you don't respond to other medications, have a compromised immune system or have crusted scabies. These medications will kill scabies mites, although you may still experience itching for several weeks.

    • 2

      Prevent re-infestation by thoroughly cleaning clothes and linens you've used in the previous three days. Wash clothing, towels and bedding with hot, soapy water and dry with high heat. Dry-clean items you can't machine wash.

    • 3

      Put items you can't wash, such as stuffed animals, in sealed plastic bags and store them in your attic, basement or garage for a couple of weeks. Scabies mites will die if they don't eat for a week.

Tips & Warnings

  • Family members and other close contacts should be treated for scabies as well, even if they don't yet show symptoms.
  • Soaking in cool water or applying a cool, wet washcloth can relieve itching. You can also apply soothing lotion or take an antihistamine.
  • No over-the-counter medications have been approved to treat scabies.
  • Retreatment may be required if you experience itching more than two weeks after treatment or if new burrows or pimple-like rash lesions appear.
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  • Photo Credit body lotion image by PinkShot from

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