Scabies

Authored by Dr Oliver Starr, 02 Oct 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Hannah Gronow, 02 Oct 2017

Scabies is a very itchy skin infestation caused by a tiny mite. It is spread by close contact, such as living with someone or sharing a bed.

Even the name 'scabies' sounds really nasty: it comes from the name of the tiny mite (like a really tiny insect). It can burrow into your skin, often through your hands, and then spread around your body.

Scabies is really really itchy. People say it's the itchiest thing they've ever had. It can drive people to their wits' end, especially at night. Often people are itching so much that they can't sleep. The itching and the tiredness make people really desperate for a treatment and they often turn up to the doctor feeling quite tearful.

The tiny mite can crawl anywhere, but it usually gets into your hands first. Then it spreads from your hands to anywhere you tend to touch: your neck, your tummy (abdomen), your chest. It often focuses on your belly button or the tops of your legs (your groin).

Further reading and references

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