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Scabies (cont.)

What Types of Physicians Treat Scabies?

Most primary-care providers (who may be family medicine or internal medicine specialists) and pediatricians treat scabies. Dermatologists and pediatric dermatologists may be consulted to treat some patients with complications (for example, Norwegian scabies).

What Follow-up Is Needed for a Scabies Infestation?

Itching can last for two weeks or more after successful treatment and does not necessarily indicate that the treatment failed. Repeat examination by a doctor in two weeks is recommended if there is persistent itching after treatment.

Is It Possible to Prevent Scabies?

It is difficult to prevent scabies. If a person is known to have scabies, they should not have close skin-to-skin contact with others until they have been treated. If one member of a household has scabies, all other household members, sexual partners, and close contacts should be treated simultaneously. Clothing, towels, and bedding from an affected person should be washed in hot water and dried in a dryer. If an article cannot be washed this way, it can be stored away from human contact for at least three days to eliminate mites because the mites will not survive longer than three days without contacting human skin.

In the hospital, staff should use gloves and gowns when treating patients who have a suspicious rash and itching.

What Is the Prognosis of Scabies?

Once properly diagnosed, treatment is generally very effective at curing scabies and restoring normal skin health. Extensive scratching can cause abrasions on the skin, which may become secondarily infected with bacteria. Secondary infections are a significant problem in developing countries and the tropics.

Scabies Pictures

Picture of small pimple-like lesions in the finger web caused by scabies
Picture of small pimple-like lesions in the finger web caused by scabies; SOURCE: CDC

Picture of scabies mite seen under a high-power microscope lens
Picture of scabies mite seen under a high-power microscope lens; SOURCE: CDC/Joe Miller/Reed & Carnrick Pharmaceuticals

Picture of scabies rash on the hand
Picture of scabies rash on the hand; SOURCE: CDC/Reed and Carnrich Pharmaceuticals

Picture of scabies rash in the groin
Picture of scabies rash in the groin; SOURCE: CDC/Susan Lindsley

REFERENCES:

Barry, Megan. "Scabies." Medscape. June 30, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1109204-overview>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites - Scabies." Nov. 2, 2010. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites - Scabies: Treatment." Sept. 16, 2016. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/treatment.html>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Scabies." Nov. 2, 2010. <http://www.cdc.gov/scabies/>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Travelers' Health: Scabies." July 10, 2015. <https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/scabies>.


Last Reviewed 8/30/2017

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