Scabies – Symptoms and Causes

Overview

Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation with small mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. These tiny mites burrow into the skin where they live and cause severe itching. When pregnant, these mites burrow deeper into the skin and lay eggs. These eggs hatch and crawl up to continue the cycle.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 300 million people [1] in the world develop scabies every year. One million of these people live in the United States.

This skin condition is highly contagious. The causal mites are easily transferred by contact with an infected person and contaminated beddings. If you share the same living space with a person who has scabies, there is a high chance you will get it too. This is why doctors often recommend that scabies treatment involves the family or living units of people with the condition.

If you have scabies, your condition will not go away on its own. Treatment is critical or the mites will continue to proliferate and colonize new patches of skin. You cannot cure an infestation with medications bought over the counter. If you have symptoms of scabies, you should see a doctor who will examine scrapings of your skin under a microscope to confirm you have scabies before recommending a treatment plan.