Scabies is a highly contagious but curable, itchy rash that affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused by the infection of the skin by a tiny mite just barely visible to the naked eye. The scabies mite burrows under the skin and causes severe itching and a rash which clears up in 2-6 weeks if treatment instructions are followed. Although most common in warm climates, scabies can occur anywhere and within all social and economic levels. It is easily transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, such as between family members, sexual partners or children playing at school. An unproven but possible method of transmission is via infected clothing, bedding and towels. It is not carried on or caught by animals.
Treatment Options: Treatment consists of applying a mite-killing medication to your skin with the directions followed exactly as prescribed by your physician. Generally, a medication called permethrin (Elimite, Acticin) is used. All members of the family and close personal contacts should be treated as the same time. Scabies mites can live for only 1-3 days away from a live host. Wash all clothing, bed linen, and towels in hot water and machine dry. Vacuum the entire house and discard the bag.
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