What Are Scabies? How Do You Know If You Have Them

You can usually self-diagnose scabies by visually inspecting the skin. A scabies rash will resemble a series of tiny red dots, and will typically be accompanied by burrow marks. The itching caused by scabies is often much worse at night, so if this is the case then it’s likely you’re suffering from scabies and not another rash-causing condition.

Vujevich Dermatology Associates offers medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology from some of the most highly trained physicians and clinicians in the greater Pittsburgh area. You can reach our team at 412-429-2570 or visit our contact page to see all of our locations. You can also follow us on Facebook to see what’s new in the world of dermatology.

Do you suspect mites on human skin? Scabies is a common, irritating skin condition with millions of cases worldwide every year. It’s caused by itch mites on human skin. A dermatologist can diagnose scabies, and it is among many of the other conditions we treat at Vujevich Dermatology Associates.

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Good hygiene alone won’t stop the mites that cause the itching of scabies, but it’s a treatable condition.

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Is Scabies Contagious?

You may also notice burrow marks, which are small in size and resemble wavy silvery lines with tiny black dots at one end. For adults infected with scabies, it’s common for burrow marks to appear in any of the following places:

Scabies will not go away on its own. Left untreated, the condition will worsen and spread to others. Only a doctor can prescribe medicine to treat scabies. Prescription creams are the most common form of treatment, but oral medication may also be prescribed.

Eczema is a long-term condition that causes the skin to become dry and itchy. It may also become scaly and red, resembling a rash, while in more severe cases sufferers may experience crusting, weeping or bleeding. Eczema affects around one in five children but is less common in adulthood.

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Scratching the itchy areas of skin can let bacteria get into the skin. The doctor will prescribe antibiotics if your child gets a skin infection. Talk to your doctor if you notice any signs of skin infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

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How Is Scabies Diagnosed?

The scabies rash can affect any part of the body except the head. The most common areas for a scabies rash to appear are:

The best way to quickly kill scabies mites and get rid of the condition is by a prescription from your dermatologist. Treatment typically lasts for three days, though it may require more than one round of treatment to kill the mites on human skin. It’s imperative to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure recovery.

A scabies rash can affect any area of the body excluding the head, while eczema typically occurs on the face, hands, feet, the insides of the elbows or behind the knees. Eczema is usually caused by environmental or genetic factors and is not contagious, whereas scabies is highly contagious and easily passed on through human contact.

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Healthy adults most often get these mites through sexual contact with an infected person.

Although the itch mite can infest any part of the body, scabies is most commonly found in the following parts of the body:

Your first signs that something is wrong will be intense itching (especially at night), and a pimple-like rash. You might notice these symptoms all over your body. Or they may be limited to certain areas, like your wrist, elbows, genitals, butt, or the webbing between your fingers.

How to Know if That Rash Is Scabies

Scabies can live on the human body for 1 to 2 months. They can live in bedding or furniture for 2-3 days.

Some may confuse keratosis pilaris for scabies, or vice versa, at first glance due to the small, itchy, bumps that can form from both. However, the two do have different characteristics. With keratosis pilaris, an itchy rash or an irregular pattern of rashes consisting of tiny bumps resembling goose pimples will form. The bumps are usually red or tan and form around hair follicles on the arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. With scabies, the itchiness may be more severe, and instead of appearing like goose pimples, the bumps may look more like hives or bites under the skin. You may also notice those track-like burrows appearing as raised lines around the skin. In addition, the sores, scales, or blisters that can form may help set the two apart. You’ll want to be sure to see a dermatologist for proper diagnosis of your skin condition.

Children might experience itching or rash on their head, face, neck, palms, and on the soles of their feet.

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Shingles is a viral condition that causes a severe and painful rash. Caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the rash can occur anywhere on the body, but it typically appears as a single strip of blisters on one side of the body only. Usually, a sufferer will experience a painful tingling feeling on the skin before developing a rash a few days later.

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Doctors treat scabies by prescribing a medicated cream or lotion to kill the mites. Apply the cream to skin all over the body (from the neck down), not just the area with the rash. In infants and young children, also put the cream on the face (avoiding the mouth and eyes), scalp, and ears. Trim your child’s nails and also put medicine on the fingertips.

If you’ve been diagnosed with scabies, your partner and anyone else in your household should also be treated for the condition (even if they’re not presenting symptoms) as the infection may have been transmitted to them through close bodily contact or through sharing towels or bed linen.

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A scabies rash can affect almost any area of the body, whereas shingles typically only occur on one side — most often the left or right side of the torso. Furthermore, shingles are usually preceded by painful, burning or tingling skin, and is occasionally accompanied by a fever, headaches and increased fatigue.

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Treatment for scabies

Most treatments need to stay on the skin for 8–12 hours before they’re washed off. You may want to apply the medicine before your child goes to bed, then wash it off in the morning.

Scabies is usually treated by applying a cream to the entire body. Effective cream-based treatments for scabies include:

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