What is scabies?
Scabies is caused by a mite which is a small insect.
How can scabies be passed on?
Scabies can affect any part of the skin and is passed on by skin to skin contact. It is commonly found on the hands, wrists, elbows, armpits and genital area. Mites burrow into the skin where they lay eggs. The offspring from these mites crawl out onto the skin and make new burrows.
What are the symptoms of scabies?
The main symptom of scabies is an itch, all over the body but especially at the wrists and between your fingers, often worse at night. This may take four to six weeks to develop.
How do I know if I have scabies?
A doctor usually makes the diagnosis of scabies by examining the skin.
How is scabies treated?
Scabies is easily treated with either a cream or lotion which to be effective must be used as directed. The cream or lotion will come with a set of instructions for use. Treatment is easily available from a chemist.
Will my partner need treated?
As scabies is passed on by skin contact it may be necessary for others within your household to be treated also. You are advised to tell your sexual partner(s) as they will need treatment as well. Close body contact should be avoided until you and your partner(s) are all treated.
Where will I go for help?
Your own GP or your local Integrated Sexual Health Clinic (formerly Genito-urinary GUM Clinic). If you are sexually active you may want to consider being tested for any sexually acquired infections.
How will I tell my partner?
It is important to keep scabies in perspective. Scabies is a common infection, which is easily treated with either cream or lotion, which both work the same way. It might help if you show your partner or household this website.