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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is scabies?
Scabies is a common contagious skin condition that typically causes severe itching and rash.
How common is scabies?
Scabies is a very common condition, affecting an estimated 300 million people all over the world.
What are the symptoms of scabies?
Most people who catch scabies will experience intense itching and a rash. A close look at the affected area may show burrows, which appear as short, silvery-grey raised tracks that are straight or squiggly. You may also notice small itchy lumps on your …
Who gets scabies?
People from all walks of life can get scabies, but it is most common in school-age children. Babies can also get scabies from infected household members or items. Other risk factors for scabies include: age - being a young or school-aged child; poor nutrition; crowded …
How is scabies diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose scabies by visual examination of a skin sample under a microscope and by a simple ink test of the burrows. Further diagnostic methods, such as a skin biopsy or histopathology test, may be required to confirm a suspected scabies infestation.
How is scabies treated?
The most common treatment for scabies is permethrin cream. If an alternative treatment is required, benzyl benzoate emulsion is generally used. A course of treatment may last several weeks, until no eggs or mites remain. Steroid creams and antihistamines are also …
Is scabies serious?
Highly irritating as it may be, scabies is normally not a serious or life-threatening condition. However, in a person whose immune system is weakened by factors such as old age, serious illness or malnutrition, scabies can sometimes develop into more severe forms such …
Can I prevent scabies?
Infestation or reinfestation with scabies can be prevented by practicing good hygiene measures, including: cutting and cleaning fingernails; avoiding ongoing physical contact with people who have scabies; washing clothing and bedding thoroughly with hot, soapy …
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 19 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 1300 (Click smiley face below left to rate)