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What Is a Scabies Rash?

A scabies rash is a skin condition that results from a mite infestation. It causes severe itching and thin lines across the skin. These rashes often occur in specific areas, such as the wrist, armpits, or the area between fingers. Scabies spreads through sexual activity or close contact with an infested person. It can be treated with prescription medicated lotions.

Cause of Scabies Rash

A mite called Sarcoptes scabiei causes scabies when it burrows into the top layer of skin. The mites are so tiny that you can’t see them with the naked eye. Once the skin reacts to the mites, a scabies rash develops.

Symptoms of Scabies Rash

A scabies rash causes severe itching, which often worsens at night. In addition, thin, raised, and crooked lines that are often skin-colored or grayish-white appear. These lines are the mites’ burrow tracks, and they typically appear in one or more of the following areas:

  • Armpits
  • Wrists
  • Inner elbows
  • Shoulder blades
  • Waist
  • Buttocks
  • Knees
  • Soles of the feet
  • Between the fingers
  • Breasts (in women)
  • Genital area (in men)

Sometimes, a scabies rash’s lines are so tiny that they’re difficult to detect. Most people with scabies only have about 10 to 15 mites.

In rare, severe cases where someone has hundreds or even millions of mites, it’s possible to develop crusted scabies. With this condition, thick crusts containing large numbers of mites develop on the skin. Crusted scabies is more likely to affect people who are elderly, immunocompromised, or have a loss of sensation or mobility that prevents itching or scratching,

Scabies Rash Treatment

A medical provider can prescribe creams or lotions that contain mite-killing scabicides to treat a scabies rash. Usually, the itching subsides within two weeks after treatment begins, and no long-term health issues result. Because scabies spreads through close contact, sexual partners and household members usually also need treatment.

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