Scabies

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What is scabies?

Scabies is caused by tiny mites smaller then crabs (and harder to see) which are passed on through skin-to-skin contact. For this reason it may or may not be transmitted though sexual contact.

How do you know if you have scabies?

The most common symptom is intense itching which is caused by the mites burrowing under the skin to lay eggs. When they burrow they often leave fine red marks on the skin. The mites like warm areas of skin, especially the groin and armpits. Itching is usually worse while warm in bed.

How do you test for scabies?

Scabies are detected by examining itchy areas under bright light and by checking symptoms.

Is there any treatment for scabies?

An appropriate scabies lotion rapidly and effectively cures scabies. You will also need to change and wash any clothing and linen which has been in direct contact with the affected area. A normal hot wash is sufficient. Itching may persist after treatment. If it continues for longer then two weeks it could be due to an allergic reaction to the treatment to persistent infestation. See you doctor or sexual health service.

What if it’s not treated?

Itching will continue and the scabies may spread to sexual partners and household contacts.

What about partners?

You should advise your current partners (from the previous four weeks) and all household members that they need to be examined and treated if necessary. They can go to their local doctor or sexual health service.

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