Norfolk Health Protection Unit working with the Norfolk Public Health Network
Patient information sheet
Treatment for Scabies
GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME - Its worth it in the long run!
Treating scabies takes a little time and trouble. If done properly the problem can be easily resolved. If
not, you could soon be back to square one and needing further treatment in a short time.
If you discover that you, or a member of your household, has a scabies problem, everyone in your
household should be treated on the same day.
It’s also a good idea to tactfully alert others who have recently had prolonged skin-to-skin contact (e.g.
holding hands etc.) with a known scabies sufferer from your household. These close contacts can then
ask their doctor or pharmacist if treatment is necessary for them.
Pregnant women, and mothers with babies or infants, should consult their doctor or pharmacist
before starting any scabies treatment.
THE TREATMENT - What to do
Your doctor or pharmacist will usually recommend a cream or lotion type of preparation for treatment.
Please read the instructions for application carefully. Some people find it easier, if this is possible,
to apply the treatment on a day when they are not at school or work.
Step One: The treatment should be applied an hour or more after bathing. It should be smoothed into
the skin over the body, as directed by doctor or pharmacist, with particular attention being paid to skin
folds like the armpits, groin, between the fingers and also under the nails. Skin around the eyes and
mouth must be avoided.
Step Two: Leave the preparation on the skin for the necessary time (see manufacturers instructions).
Do not wash it off in the meantime. If you need to wash your hands (e.g. before eating, preparing food
or using the lavatory), reapply the treatment as soon as possible after.
Step Three: At the end of the time period for treatment, put clean sheets/duvet covers and pillow cases
onto the beds. There is no need to change quilts, blankets etc. The treatment should then be washed off
the skin carefully. After treatment, all clothes to be worn next to the skin should have been freshly
laundered in the usual way. Outer clothes like jackets and coats are not affected and need not be
Step Four: In many cases, the doctor or pharmacist will recommend that the above treatment is
repeated for your whole household after an interval of time. It is important to follow this advice carefully.
WHAT TO DO IF THE ITCH DOESN’T GO AWAY? (After treatment has finished).
If your skin has been badly inflamed by the scabies bug, it may take some days or even weeks for the
itching to completely disappear. If applied properly the treatment regime will have got rid of the scabies
bugs, so do not apply additional treatment - this could make things worse!
Persistent itching can be eased by a soothing cream which your doctor or chemist can supply (for
example Eurax cream applied twice daily to itchy areas). In these circumstances you can also assist
matters by using aqueous cream for washing, instead of soap. This is easily available from your local
pharmacy. But do not use these preparations when the scabies treatment is on the skin, as they may
interfere with its action.
If the itching is still present 6 weeks after treatment, it is best to consult your family doctor or nurse