The best way to prevent scabies is to avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with an infested person. In addition, you should wash any clothing, towels, or bedding someone with scabies has used. Healthcare providers often recommend preventive treatment for those who have had close contact with an affected individual.
Avoid Direct Contact
Scabies is caused by mites that burrow under the skin, and it spreads through prolonged, skin-to-skin contact. Two activities with a particularly high risk of transmission include sexual activity and sleeping in the same bed as someone with scabies. Other activities, such as holding hands, might also cause the condition to spread.
Another way scabies can spread is through sharing clothing, towels, or bedding with an affected individual.
If you know someone has scabies, try to avoid direct contact with that person or their clothing, bedding, and towels until they’ve completed treatment.
Wash Clothes and Linens
Another way to prevent scabies spread is to clean any items the infested person has used thoroughly. This is especially true for clothing and linens, which you should wash in hot water and dry on a high heat cycle. Vacuum all carpets and furniture as well.
Seal any items you can’t wash or vacuum in plastic bags and keep the bags closed for at least three days. Most mites can’t live for more than 48 to 72 hours without access to human skin, so this method kills them effectively.
Get Treated Preventively
When someone is diagnosed with scabies, a medical provider will recommend treatment with prescription lotions or creams. In addition, that person’s sexual partners and household members will need to receive preventive treatment. When everyone gets treated at the same time, reinfestation is less likely to occur.