Can people be allergic to the mites? If scabies goes untreated, the Control the spread of scabies! Once scabies is diagnosed you should: SCABIES person's skin may become irritated and develop a red or pimply allergic • Start medication immediately. Questions and Answers • Bathe or shower and clip finger and toe nails rash. The rash may be around the before applying medicine. Remember to apply armpits, wrists, waist, on the inside medicine to the hairline, ears, and soles of the of the thighs or the back of the feet. calves, or elsewhere. • Avoid all contact, especially skin-to-skin Scabies is an itching skin The place of the rash is not always contact, with the infected person during the irritation caused by the the same as the location of the first 8 to 12 hours of treatment. tiny human itch mite • If the person with scabies needs assistance mites. Once a person has become (Sarcoptes scabiei var. with applying the medication, be sure to sensitive to scabies, a new exposure protect yourself by wearing gloves and a hominis). The mites dig a will cause signs almost immediately. long-sleeved shirt or gown when applying burrow into the upper How can scabies be medicine. Remove gloves and shirt after layers of skin and cause prevented? application and be sure to wash your hands, wrist, and lower arms. itching, tiny irregular red Good personal hygiene, frequent lines just under the skin, • Change, clean and disinfect all sheets, handwashing, regular bathing or blankets, pillow covers, towels, wash cloths and an allergic rash. showering, regular changes of bed and clothing after the first treatment. Wash in Other bacterial skin infec- linens, and not sharing clothing, hot water with detergent and dry on the tions may result from towels or bedding helps prevent highest heat for 20 minutes, or seal in a untreated scabies. scabies. plastic bag for 5-7 days. Disinfect all mat- tresses, floors, and regularly used items. All infected persons should be treated. "Contacts" of a person with scabies (such as sexual partners or household members) should also be Department of Human Services treated. Oregon Health Division If you need this material in Acute & Communicable Disease Program a different format, Acute and Communicable Disease Program call (503) 731-4024 (503) 731-4024 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.oshd.org published 07/00 How do people get scabies? examine it under a microscope for identifi- Can you get scabies again? The mites often move from one person to cation. If you get scabies again after a another when people touch each other, How do scabies live? doctor's treatment that worked, it but sometimes you can get them from means you have been infested again things such as clothing, sheets, blankets The female mite mates with the male on by touching someone who has sca- and towels which have been used by a the skin surface, then tunnels under the bies. It is important to find out who person who has the scabies mites. Mites skin to lay eggs. In a few days the eggs may have given you scabies, and get spread easily when people sleep together. hatch and the new mites travel to the them treatment. They are also easily spread within groups of surface of the skin. The female mites then grow, mate, tunnel under the skin, and the Sometimes, whole families are treated people who spend a lot of time together, at the same time even though only a such as families, children in day care, or cycle begins again. few members show signs at that time. the patients and workers in hospitals. A mite can only live for a short period of This helps to make sure that infesta- time on non-living things. The survival When do signs of scabies time will vary, depending on the tem- tion does not happen again. appear? perature and humidity. Mites live only a Remember that signs of scabies may Most of the time, itching and other signs few hours on dry surfaces such as cloth- not show for as long as a month after of scabies do not show up until about a ing or bedding. Under ideal temperature the first infestation starts. month after the person first gets the and moisture conditions, the mites may Can people get scabies mites. This is an important fact to re- live up to 3 to 4 days. from animals? member during treatment because people How is scabies treated? Other kinds of the itch mite (Sarcop- may carry mites without showing any Scabies should be treated by a doctor. The tes scabiei var. cameli, var. canis, var. signs or problems. Therefore, if people doctor will usually have patients put medi- caprae, var. equi, var. ovis, var. with signs are the only ones treated, there cated creams or lotions on all the skin scabiei-crustoseae, var. suis) may live is still a risk of spreading the mites. below the neck. The treatment often causes on pets or other domestic animals, How can you be sure it's tingling of the skin which may last as long but people do not usually get scabies scabies? as 2 weeks. Calamine lotion may help from animals. relieve this. Studies show that many kinds of itch A doctor can see the mite using a magni- fying glass. The female mite can often be It is important to carefully follow your mites that live on other animals can- seen through the skin as a dull whitish spot doctor's directions about using the medi- not continue to live and spread on at the blind end of her burrow. The doctor cine. Any other problems caused by the humans. They can cause red skin and will take out the mite with a needle and scabies should also be treated by your itching for 4 to 5 weeks until the doctor. mites die.