Scabies Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Do you have an intense itchy rash? It might be scabies.
When a person is infested with scabies for the first time, it can take four to six weeks for the skin to react. The most common symptoms are:
- Intense itching, especially at night
- A pimple-like rash
- Scales or blisters
- Sores caused by scratching
Where Do Scabies Mites Live?
Scabies mites can live anywhere on the body, but some of their favorite spots include:
- Between the fingers
- The folds of the wrist, elbow, or knee
- Around the waistline and navel
- On the breasts or genitals
- The head, neck, face, palms, and soles in very young children
How Does Scabies Spread?
Scabies typically spreads through prolonged, skin-to-skin contact that gives the mites time to crawl from one person to another. Shared personal items, such as bedding or towels, may occasionally be to blame. Scabies can be passed easily between family members or sexual partners. It is not likely to spread through a quick handshake or hug. The scabies mite can’t jump or fly, and it crawls very slowly.
Who Gets Scabies?
Anyone can get scabies, but those at higher risk include:
- Sexually active adults
- Prison inmates
- People in institutional care
- People living in crowded conditions
- People in child care facilities
Scabies in Daycare Centers
Scabies outbreaks occasionally strike daycare centers. Young children tend to play in ways that involve skin-to-skin contact. They may also share naptime mats and blankets. If scabies is found in a child who attends daycare, it’s important to notify the staff. The child's classmates and caregivers will probably need to be treated as well, even if symptoms have yet to appear.
Scabies in Nursing Homes
Long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and homes for the developmentally disabled, are also prone to scabies outbreaks. Because caregivers assist residents with bathing and dressing, skin-to-skin contact is common. The CDC recommends all new long-term care patients and staff be screened for scabies.