Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by a tiny burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. The presence of the mite leads to intense itching in the area of its burrows. The urge to scratch may be especially strong at night.
Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly through close physical contact in a family, child care group, school class or nursing home. Because of the contagious nature of scabies, doctors often recommend treatment for entire families or contact groups to eliminate the mite.
Take heart in that scabies is readily treated. Medications applied to your skin kill the mites that cause scabies and their eggs, although you may still experience some itching for several weeks.
July 24, 2012
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00024-9&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=332033261-2#4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00024-9--st0040. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Scabies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Scabies. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/dermatology-a-to-z/scabies. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Andrews RM, et al. Skin disorders, including pyoderma, scabies, and tinea infections. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2009;56:1421.
- Medications. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/health_professionals/meds.html. Accessed April 25, 2012.
- Stromectol (prescribing information). Whitehouse Station, N.J.; Merck & Co., Inc. 2010. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/s/stromectol/stromectol_pi.pdf. Accessed May 1, 2012.
- Permethrin cream (prescribing information). Bronx, N.Y.; Perrigo. 2010. http://www.perrigo.com/product/catalog/product_detail.aspx?id=36&prodid=189&seachproducts=P. Accessed May 7, 2012.
- Lindane lotion (prescribing information). Morton Grove, Ill.; Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2007. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM133687.pdf?utm_campaign=Google2&utm_source=fdaSearch&utm_medium=website&utm_term=Lindane prescribing information&utm_content=1. Accessed May 7, 2012.
- Eurax (prescribing information). Jacksonville, Fla. Ranbaxy. 2009. http://www.euraxrx.com/fullpreinf1024.asp. Accessed May 7, 2012.