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What Are the Symptoms of Scabies?

Scabies causes severe itching and a skin rash. Those with a severe form of scabies can develop thick crusts on their skin. Symptoms might take weeks to develop. With treatment, scabies symptoms usually go away within a few weeks.

Scabies Symptoms

The main symptoms of scabies are itching (which often worsens at night) and a skin rash. These symptoms result from the skin’s reaction to the feces and proteins of the mites that cause scabies.

A scabies skin rash consists of thin, irregular lines, which are actually the burrow tracks of the mites under the skin. The rash can be skin-colored or grayish white and has a raised or pimple-like appearance. Though it can be difficult to detect, it typically occurs in one or more of the following areas:

  • Skin folds on the wrists, elbows, or knees
  • Webbing between the fingers
  • Soles of the feet
  • Shoulder blades
  • Penis
  • Breasts or nipples
  • Waist
  • Buttocks

These symptoms typically take four to six weeks to develop in people who have scabies for the first time. Even before symptoms appear, however, people with scabies are still contagious. For those who have had scabies before and get it again, symptoms usually start to show up within a few days.

Crusted Scabies Symptoms

Crusted scabies is a severe form of this skin condition in which someone is infested with hundreds or even millions of mites. Thick crusts of skin with huge numbers of mites and eggs form. Common symptoms such as itching or the signature scabies rash sometimes don’t occur in people with crusted scabies.

Treatment for Scabies

You can treat scabies with prescription lotions that cause symptoms to go away within two to four weeks. Because scabies can spread through sexual activity or close, prolonged contact, sexual partners and household members should get treated as well.

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