How to identify and treat the most common bug bites

The most common symptom of scabies is an intense itching that worsens at night. This itch is also generally accompanied by a pimply rash.

There are some areas on the body that are more prone to scabies rashes than others. Scabies rashes are typically found in the:

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scabies bite picture

What Do Scabies Bites Look Like

Scabies is treated with prescription medications called scabicides, which kill the mites. Permethrin 5% is the most commonly prescribed scabicide. While these medications kill mites quickly, the itching may last for several weeks. Skin usually heals within four weeks.

However, scabies is not only transmitted sexually; it can also be spread in crowded spaces like nursing homes, hospitals, classrooms, daycares, dorms, and prisons.

A less common and more severe type of scabies called crusted or Norwegian scabies happens when an exceptionally large number of mites invades the skin. There may be hundreds or thousands of mites compared with only 10 or 20 in typical scabies. People with crusted scabies develop thick crusts of skin that contain mites and eggs. They may or may not experience itching and a rash.

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A scabies-related rash generally takes between four and six weeks to become visible. It typically develops as a result of an immune response to the presence of mite proteins and feces inside the scabies burrow.

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The scabies rash takes the form of small, red bumps that may look like pimples, bug bites, hives or knots under the skin. You might be able to see the burrow tracks created by the mites, which appear as raised lines of tiny blisters or bumps. Some people develop scaly patches that resemble eczema.

Because scabies is highly contagious, your dermatologist may recommend that members of your household and your sexual partner(s) be treated for scabies as well. You’ll also need to do a thorough cleaning of your home, including vacuuming floors, rugs and all upholstered furniture. (Discard the vacuum bag afterward.) Items such as towels, sheets, blankets and clothing should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat or dry-cleaned. Another option is to seal the items in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours, since mites that aren’t in skin crusts die within a few days without a host.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that a scabies rash is actually caused by an immune response to the mites living and breeding under the skin and not by their bites.

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The scabies rash itself is usually linear. However, another key feature of a scabies infestation is an S-shaped or zigzag patterned markings caused by visible mite burrows.

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