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Scabies Mites

Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation of tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis

Scabies infestations happen when mites crawl under a person's skin and lay eggs. Scabies is spread by direct, long-lasting, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. The most common symptoms of scabies include:

      • Severe itching on most of the body, especially at night
      • Red bumps or a bumpy rash on the skin, usually between the fingers or on the wrists, elbows, armpits, genital areas, waist, or shoulder blades
Scabies mite under a microscope

Image of a scabies mite under a microscope —

actual size is similar to the period at the end of this sentence.

A person can spread scabies to others even if they don't have symptoms. You can also get scabies by sharing clothes or bedding with someone who has scabies, but this is not as common. Scabies does not usually spread from brief contact with someone who has scabies. But the longer you have skin-to-skin contact with someone who has scabies, the more likely you are to get scabies from that person.

If you think you or a family member has scabies, talk to a doctor or healthcare provider. A doctor will prescribe medicine to apply to the skin that can treat scabies. You should also tell your household members and sexual partners if you have scabies so they can be checked too.

To prevent scabies, avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has scabies until they have been properly treated. Do not share clothes or bedding with someone who has scabies. If you have shared these items with someone who has scabies, wash the clothes and bedding in hot water and place them in a clothes dryer on the hot cycle to kill any scabies mites. 

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