Scabies can last for several weeks or even months, especially if you don’t seek treatment right away. When someone gets scabies for the first time, it takes a while for the symptoms to appear. Scabies is treatable, but it can take up to four weeks for all symptoms to disappear.
Scabies occurs when microscopic mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin. Female mites begin laying about two to three eggs per day starting within hours of when they burrow under the skin. When the eggs hatch, the mites mature into adults within 10 days.
When Symptoms Appear
If you get infected with scabies for the first time, it usually takes at least four weeks for symptoms such as itching and a rash to develop as the skin reacts to the mites’ presence. These symptoms develop within eight weeks, at most. Even if you don’t have symptoms during this time, it’s still possible to spread scabies to other people.
If you’ve had scabies before, the symptoms will show up much sooner. Usually, the itching and rash develop within about one to four days after exposure.
Treatment for Scabies
One of the things that can prolong scabies is not seeking treatment as soon as symptoms appear. Scabies can easily be confused with other skin conditions that cause itching or rashes, such as eczema and dermatitis. If you don’t realize that scabies is the cause of your symptoms, you risk delaying treatment or applying over-the-counter products that aren’t effective against scabies.
If you think you have scabies, it’s important to see a healthcare provider, who can prescribe a prescription medicated lotion or cream to treat your symptoms and kill the mites. However, it takes about two to four weeks for the infestation to go away. Getting treated as soon as possible will help shorten the length of time that scabies last.