Scabies is an infestation of
the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei
var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows
into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its
The most common symptoms of
scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The
scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged,
skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies.
Itís important to understand
that a quick handshake,
casual hugging or other incidental contact usually
doesn't spread the infestation.
Scabies is found worldwide and
affects people of all races and social classes. Scabies can
spread rapidly under crowded conditions where close body and
skin contact is frequent. Institutions such as nursing
homes, extended-care facilities and prisons are often sites
of scabies outbreaks. Child care facilities also are a
common site of scabies infestations. Scabies infestation is
not a sign of poor hygiene.
Scabies can be treated with
products called scabicides. These products kill
scabies mites; some also kill eggs.
treat human scabies are available only with a doctorís
prescription; no "over-the-counter" (non-prescription)
products have been tested and approved for humans.
Always follow carefully the
instructions provided by the doctor and pharmacist, as well
as those contained in the box or printed on the label. Clean
clothes should be worn after treatment. In addition to the
infested person, treatment also is recommended for household
members and sexual contacts, particularly those who have had
prolonged skin-to-skin contact with the infested person. All
persons should be treated at the same time in order to
prevent reinfestation. Retreatment may be necessary if
itching continues more than 2-4 weeks after treatment or if
new burrows or rashes continue to appear.
Scabies mites do not survive
more than 2-3 days away from human skin. Items such as
bedding, clothing, and towels used by a person with scabies
can be decontaminated by machine-washing in hot water and
drying using the hot cycle or by dry-cleaning. Items that
cannot be washed or dry-cleaned can be decontaminated by
removing from any body contact for at least 72 hours.
If you think you have scabies,
please contact your healthcare provider.
Information for Public
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Southeast Health District
1101 Church Street
Waycross, GA 31501
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