Causes, Symtoms, And How To Treat Skin Scabies Effectively

Are you experiencing intense itching, accompanied by a rash that gets worse at night? If so, you are most likely suffering from scabies. Many skin conditions are accompanied by a rash and lots of itching. So how can you know if you have Scabies? How can you prevent an outbreak of scabies? What can you do about it if it is scabies?


The following is an informative guide on scabies. Scabies causes, symptoms, home remedies, treatment, and prevention.


What Is Scabies?

Scabies is an extremely highly itchy rash caused by an infestation of a parasitic mite. The causative agent activates the skin's immune cells, causing excessive itching and rashes of the skin. Scabies is caused by a microscopic parasitic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. The scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum. 


How Is Scabies Transmitted? 

Scabies is spread by sustained skin-to-skin contact with a person infested with the scabies-causing mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies can also be contracted from clothing, bedding, or towels that have been used by a person with a severe case of scabies called crusted scabies. Still, such spread is very uncommon unless the infested person has crusted scabies. Scabies can still be transmitted by an infested person even if they do not have symptoms. 

How to prevent the spread of scabies

The entire household of an infested person should be treated at the same time to prevent reexposure. Clothing worn or used next to the skin three days prior to treatment should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer or dry-cleaned. Items that cannot be dry-cleaned or laundered can be disinfested by storing them in an air-tight, closed plastic bag for a few days to a week. Scabies mites rarely survive more than two to three days away from human skin. 

When can you return to work or school if you are diagnosed with scabies?

A child or adult can usually return to child care, school, or work the day after treatment begins. It is essential to notify the daycare staff if a child has scabies bites. The child's classmates and caregivers will likely need treatment as well, even if symptoms have not appeared.

Where did I come into contact with scabies?

Although determining the scabies contact can be challenging, some clues can aid in the process. It is extremely easy for scabies to spread under crowded conditions where close contact between people is frequent. As a result, scabies outbreaks commonly occur in institutions where people live or interact. Among these are nursing homes, long-term care facilities, prisons, daycare centers for children, and homes for the developmentally disabled. Since caregivers assist members with dressing, skin-to-skin contact is common, and children play in ways that involve skin contact.

Symptoms of Scabies: What It Looks Like?

The most common symptom of scabies is an intensely itchy rash that worsens at night. It can appear anywhere on the body but most commonly on the hands (web spaces), wrists, elbows, breasts, armpits, waistline, genitalia, and groin. 

Typically, symptoms of scabies appear 2 to 6 weeks after initial contact with a scabies carrier. Those who have previously experienced scabies usually develop symptoms within a few days to a week. 

Scabies rash appears as a linear row of small bumps on the skin. These bumps can look like hives, tiny bites, knots under the skin, or pimples. Some people develop scaly patches that resemble eczema.

What Causes skin itching in scabies?

Skin scabies is caused by a skin infestation of microscopic mites that come into contact with the skin. Mites burrow into the lop layer of the skin and reproduce quickly. Due to their microscopic size, it is challenging to detect them, even when the mites are moving around. An immune response to the foreign invader in the skin causes itching and other symptoms. 

Are There Different Types of Scabies?

Scabies can manifest in different forms: common scabies, nodular scabies, and crusted scabies.

Common scabies

This form of scabies is the most prevalent around the world. It targets the hands and wrists and is commonly transmitted via direct skin-to-skin contact. 

Nodular scabies

It's a type of scabies that develops into bumps and lumps in more covered, private areas like the armpits and genitals, causing very intense itching and quickly growing into sores.

Crusted scabies

Persons with crusted scabies are infested with vast numbers of mites. Persons with crusted scabies can transmit the disease through brief skin-to-skin contact and contaminated items such as bedding, furniture, carpets, and floors. Crusted scabies was previously known as Norwegian scabies and can be associated with a compromised immune system. Some distinct symptoms of this type include thick, scaly patches on the skin, especially between the fingers, under the nails, palms, and soles.   

Scabies Treatment

Scabies treatment can only be obtained with a doctor's prescription. For scabies treatment to be effective, the mites must be killed along with their eggs without causing additional damage to the skin. Most of the remedies to get rid of scabies mites are topical creams. Topical treatments, e.g., scabies treatment cream, are most effective at night when mites are most active. Scabies medication is applied before bedtime. Patients then wash off the medicine in the morning. This process may need to be repeated one week later.

Mites reproduce very quickly, so they spread from person to person and between body parts. Thus, it is highly likely that more than one part of the body is infected, and eggs may be laid elsewhere on the body where there is no rash. Therefore, it is best to treat the whole body.


Here are some prescription scabies cream and scabies lotion medications that are effective for scabies treatment;


  • Permethrin 5% cream or lotion (kills the eggs and the mites). This is the most common treatment for scabies. It is used to treat patients 2 months of age and older and women who are pregnant.
  • Oral Ivermectin pills
  • 10% crotamiton cream
  • 25% benzyl benzoate lotion
  • Sulfur (5%-10%) ointment
  • 1% lindane lotion


Scabies mites are killed by these medications in general. Still, you might also require some medications to relieve other symptoms, such as itching or skin infection. Some patients need additional treatment, too. Your dermatologist may prescribe:

  • Antihistamine: To control the itching and help you sleep.
  • Pramoxine lotion: To reduce itching.
  • Antibiotic: For treating secondary skin infections.
  • Steroid cream: For reducing redness, swelling, and itching.


How Long Does Treatment Take?

Mites and their eggs must be killed, and their eggs must be destroyed for a full recovery. You should experience symptom relief within 3 days of starting treatment. Suppose the symptoms are still present after four weeks; you might be re-infested with hatched eggs or contaminated items. 


When Should I Contact A Doctor?

If you notice any signs or symptoms of scabies, contact your doctor right away. Although there are home remedies for treating skin scabies, it's essential to consult your doctor to get a diagnosis. You should also reach out to your doctor if symptoms persist after a month of treatment.

How to Prevent Skin Scabies?

When it comes to scabies rash, prevention is better than cure. Because scabies is transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin contact, avoiding contact with an infected individual is the smart move. The same goes for avoiding contact with an infected person's clothes or bedding. Since scabies symptoms don't appear immediately after exposure, you should be on the lookout for them if you were exposed to scabies. Maintaining good personal hygiene also helps.



Is there a home remedy for treating scabies?

Even though home remedies such as tea tree oil can temporarily relieve discomfort and itching, you will need a prescription to successfully treat scabies.

How Did I Contract Scabies?

Identifying the exact moment when you came into contact with scabies mites can be challenging. In general, places where many people interact with one another should be considered.

Who Can Get Scabies?

Anyone who comes into contact with infected people, clothing, or surfaces can develop scabies. It may take two to four weeks for symptoms to appear. 

Can Children Get Scabies?

Children and toddlers can also be affected by scabies. Scabies can also affect the elderly. The elderly are more likely to develop crusted scabies due to their weakened immune systems.


What is the duration of scabies after treatment?

After treatment, full recovery takes between two and six weeks. Suppose your symptoms return after first being relieved. In that case, you should consult your physician to ensure you have not been re-infected by hatched eggs.

Can I contract scabies from an office chair?

The chances of catching scabies from a chair or cubicle used by someone with scabies are slim unless the infested person has crusted scabies. It is advisable to avoid prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and vacuum furniture, rugs, and carpets of the infested person to prevent the spread of scabies.



Scabies is a contagious rash caused by a microscopic mite. In addition to being extremely itchy, it can disrupt your sleep. Immunocompromised people can develop a highly infectious, severe case of scabies called crusted scabies. Scabies should be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist.