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Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation of the microscopic scabies mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei. It is a common condition affecting people of any age or race, and is spread through direct skin to skin contact. The female mite burrows into the top layer of skin where she lays her eggs, which then hatch after ten days. The mite and its waste then trigger an allergic reaction in the body, which causes itching.       



Scabies is transferred through direct, prolonged contact such as sexual contact or the sharing of bedding, it is not usually transferred from a quick handshake or a hug. Signs can take up to six weeks to show and may include:  

  • Small bumps or rash visible on the skin surface, usually between skin folds such as genitals and webbing of hands and feet,  
  • Persistent itching which is often worse after a shower and during the night, and  
  • Sores on the body from scratching.  



Treatment for scabies is simple and involves applying a specialised cream or lotion directly onto the skin which is left on for 12 to 24 hours and then washed off thoroughly. It is important to cover all areas of the body thoroughly from the neck to the toes. Clothing, bedding and towels also need to be washed in hot water. 


In general, a person is no longer considered to be infectious 24 hours after being treated, however it may take a number of weeks for the itch to stop completely as the body’s immune system settles down.      



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.   Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.