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Everything you Know About scabies : Identification, Rash Symptoms, Treatment Procedure

What is scabies? - Some Facts what does scabies look like? Scabies signs and symptoms What causes scabies Diseases? Diagnose process of Scabies How to Get rid of scabies Home remedies for scabies Scabies life cycle Prevention Method of scabies Conclusion

What is scabies? - Some Facts

Every year nearly hundreds of people suffer from the problem of scabies irrespective of the socioeconomic status and age. Nearly 300 million people get infected by scabies all around the world. Scabies is a condition which is caused due to the infestation of eight-legged microscopic mite known by the name of Sarcoptes scabiei. It is important to remember that is not an infection rather it only a skin condition. The mites excavate the skin and lay their eggs this leads to their infestation in the skin which further results in rashes and intense itching on the surface of the skin. Scabies is a highly contagious disease and it spreads like a wildfire through close physical contact. The condition of scabies mostly occurs in children and young adults. The outbreak of this disease is common in the schools and childcare facilities.

what does scabies look like?

The mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei are the reason why scabies occur. These are eight-legged mites. The size of the mites is so petite that they are not visible to a naked human eye. These mites can only be seen with the help of a microscope. As scabies are not visible to the human eye thus the condition of scabies is recognized through the rashes which are caused by mites. Given below are some of the key indicators which help in recognizing the scabies skin condition

  1. The rash of scabies looks like a pimple or a blister and they tend to appear in a row.
  2. The skin of the individual with scabies would have scaly and red patches.
  3. Although the mites of scabies attack the entire body but they are mostly found in the skin around the feet and hands.
  4. Besides the red blisters, scabies would cause grey lines to appear on the skin along with blisters.

Scabies signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a person suffering from scabies vary from individual to individual. If the person is suffering from the problem of scabies for the very first time then it would take approximately 2 to 4 weeks for the symptoms to appear in the person. However, in patients who have a history of the scabies infestation, the symptoms appear within 1 to 4 days. The signs and symptoms of scabies are inclusive of

  • Rash: when the mites excavate the skin, the tracks of the excavation are formed on the skin in the form of hives, blisters or pimples.
  • Itching: it is one of the most common symptoms of scabies and it tends to get worse at night.

Scabies can occur anywhere in the human body. In adults, the scabies are mostly found

  • In armpits
  • On inner elbows
  • Soles of the feet
  • Between the fingers
  • On the knees
  • Around the breasts
  • Inside of the wrists

In young children and infants, the scabies are mostly found in

  • The palm of the hands
  • Soles of the feet
  • Scalp

What causes scabies Diseases?

In humans, the condition of scabies is caused by an eight-legged mite known by the name of Sarcoptes scabiei. The female mites excavate the skin and make a tunnel beneath the skin where it lays and deposits its eggs. After hatching from the eggs these mites move towards the surface of the skin. From the surface of the skin, they spread to various parts of the body after maturing. The allergic reaction of the mites to the body causes itching on the skin. The mites can be spread to other people when a non-infected person physically comes in contact with an infected person. Sharing the beds and the clothing of the infected person can also cause scabies to spread.

Diagnose process of Scabies

In order to diagnose scabies, a doctor may examine a person for the classic symptoms of the disease like burrow characteristics, skin rashes, and signs of mites. When the doctor is able to locate the burrow of the mites a sample from that area is taken by the doctor. The doctor then examines the sample under the microscope to confirm the presence of either eggs or the mites or both.

How to Get rid of scabies

The treatment for scabies concentrates on the complete elimination of the infestation. The doctors usually prescribe topical medications to provide relief in the symptoms of scabies. Normally the doctor would recommend the patient to apply the topical medication on the whole body below the neck region and leave it for approximately 8 to 10 hours. Due to the simple fact that scabies is a highly contagious disease the doctor may recommend the treatment of scabies to all the member of the family of the infected person. The medicines which are commonly prescribed by the doctor are

Lindane lotion: this lotion is usually prescribed for treating scabies in the adults. This lotion is not safe to be used on kids less than 10 years of age.

Permethrin cream: this topical medication kills the mites and their kids. This medication can be used in pregnant women, adults, and children above 2 months of age.

Ivermectin: this is an oral medication and is generally prescribed to people who have a compromised immune system. This medication is not recommended to be given to patients who are pregnant, or children who weigh less than 15 kilograms.

Home remedies for scabies

Apart from the usual treatment for scabies involving topical applications and medication an infected person can also opt for some home remedies to provide relief in the condition. Some of the home remedies which can be used for the treatment of scabies are

  • Neem: using creams, soaps and oil containing neem can be very useful in the treatment as neem is known for its antibacterial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. As per a study conducted in the year 2008, the active ingredients of neem are good enough to kill scabies.
  • Aloe vera gel: the use of aloe vera gel on the scabies infected area provides a soothing and healing effect. The gel is not only good enough to kill scabies but it also provides relief in itching.
  • Clove oil: topical application of clove oil can be very advantageous in the treatment of scabies as it has antioxidant, anesthetic, and antimicrobial properties. It is also a known and effective insecticidal. According to a study conducted in the year, 2010 clove oil is good enough to kill scabies.
  • Cayenne pepper: the topical application of the cayenne pepper not only provides relief from the itching symptom but it is also effective in killing the mites of scabies.
  • Tea tree oil: topical application of the tea tree oil provides a very promising solution to the problem of scabies due to its anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, antibacterial, and acaricidal properties. Topical application of tea tree oil is a scientifically proven solution to the problem of scabies.

Scabies life cycle

There are four stages in the life cycle of scabies

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Nymph
  • Adult

The female Sarcoptes scabiei lays and deposits nearly 2 to 3 eggs as they excavate through the skin. The eggs generally hatch within 3 to 4 days. After the hatching of the eggs takes place the larvae move onto the surface of the skin. The larvae which come out of the egg has only 3 pair of legs. After the molting of larvae, there are four pairs of legs in the resulting nymphs. The nymphs then molt into adults. The mating between male and female mites happens only once which is sufficient to make the female mite fertile for the rest of the life.

Prevention Method of scabies

In order to prevent re-infestation of scabies, there are certain prevention steps which are required to be taken

  • On the day the treatment for scabies starts the entire house inclusive of all the rugs, upholstery, and carpet must be vacuumed.
  • All the clothes, towels, linens must be washed thoroughly by using hot soapy water. In order to starve the mites, the items which cannot be washed must be sealed in a plastic bag and kept away.
  • Physical contact with the infected person must be avoided at all cost.
  • The treatment for scabies must not be skipped until the doctor gives permission to stop the treatment.


Scabies is a condition which can be very irritating for an individual because of the symptoms exhibited. The condition of scabies does not heal overnight and proper care needs to be taken to avoid spreading of the disease. The above article provides details about scabies, its treatment, and prevention.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suffering from scabies on scrotum. It a red bumps on scrotum or penis. I searched a lot for it and I found that it nodular scabies. I am using gamascab lotion. Can I use tacrolimus ointment 0.03% instead gamascab to cure fast?

Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Indian Institute of Aesthetic Medicine, FMC (Fellow in Med.Cosmetology)
Dermatologist, Indore
Tacrolimus will not help with scabies at all. You need proper treatment & more importantly proper instructions to take care of your scabies infestation on your body and your surroundings. I would advice you to consult a dermatologist to get better...
2 people found this helpful

I was using crotorax hc cream for scabies and it was prescript by dermatologist. While applying the cream around the penis it causes some small burning sensation why?

Dermatologist, Kolkata
stop using it, it causes burning sensation, if u hav scabies u hav to apply permethrin as prescribed by doc, consult me online for better management
7 people found this helpful

I am 17 year year old and suffering from scabies my doctor suggest me ascabiol oil and levocetirizine tablet but itching is continue please suggest me what to do?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Dermatology
Dermatologist, Delhi
Please apply permethrin cream once a week for at least 3 weeks wash all your bed sheets in hot water and put all your mattress in sun the scabies mite lives in bed so keep good bedding hygiene.
6 people found this helpful

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