What Is It?
Scabies is a parasitic mite which means it feeds on the body.
The scabies mite burrows under the top layer of the skin causing itching, generally more severe at night.
We cannot see the Scabies mites but the trails they leave often show up on the skin as reddish marks and lines, sometimes silvery trails.
Typical sites affected are on the hands and between the fingers, the genitals, breasts, abdomen, buttocks and feet. Scabies does not usually affect above the neck.
The symptoms get worse if left untreated.
Scabies is transmitted through skin to skin contact.
It is also possible for transmission to occur from sharing towels or clothes or bed linen but this is considered rare.
The only way to avoid contracting this mite is to avoid all skin to skin contact. Practically this is not always possible in day to day living.
Something else you can do to help reduce the risk of contracting scabies is look at the person’s skin. If you see red sores or silver tracks or notice the person is scratching then you can wait until they have been checked before you do anything sexual with them.
If you have scabies, it is important to avoid any physical contact, including shaking hands, until the infection has been cleared (which does not take long once the lotion has been applied).
You should wash all bedclothes, towels, and clothes on a hot wash both to prevent cross-infection with other people and to prevent re-infection of yourself.
Dry cleaning will kill any scabies hidden in leather clothes.
Remember – Regular screening at your local STI clinic is recommended to maintain your sexual health.
Scabies is treated with an appropriate lotion.
You may want to go to your local STI clinic to be advised of the best treatment but you can also simply ask a pharmacist who can give you the treatment without a prescription.
If you are living with someone who has scabies, treat everyone at the same time and use latex gloves to put the lotion on each other.
The lotion needs to be applied to the whole body, except the face and scalp, and kept on for 24 hours before being thoroughly washed off.
If you wash your hands during this time, you should reapply the lotion to your hands once they are dry.