Scabies is a very common itchy skin condition caused by a tiny mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei.
Anyone can get it, but it is most common in the young and the elderly.
Scabies is highly contagious and has to be treated quickly to stop it spreading.
It’s usually not a serious condition, but it does need to be treated. If it is not treated, scabies can last for months or even years.
With scabies, tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, leaving silvery lines with a dot at one end. The rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers. The rash then usually spreads across the whole body, apart from the head.
The rash is a mixture of scratch marks and tiny, red spots, which may develop crusty sores. These sores can become infected and develop into small pus spots.
Elderly people, young children and those with a weakened immune system may also develop a rash on their head and neck.
Scabies is very infectious, but it can take up to 8 weeks for the rash to appear and so everyone in the household, their sexual partners within the last month and any other close personal contacts have to be treated at the same time, even if they do not have symptoms.
Our pharmacists in Toome Pharmacy are all fully trained in the recognise and treat scabies.
Treatment of scabies not only involves your scabies, but ensures that your family members, friends and contacts are all treated at the same time whether they are itchy or not.
Permethrin cream is the most common treatment for scabies and is used to treat patients over two months of age and pregnant women.
Alternatively, for those who can’t tolerate permethrin, Malathion aqueous liquid is prescribed.
These medicines are applied to all skin from the neck down. Infants and young children may need treatment for their scalp and face, too. A dermatologist will provide specific instructions to follow.
Most medicine is applied at bedtime. The medicine is then washed off when the patient wakes up. You may need to repeat this process one week later.
Although the treatment kills the scabies mites quickly, the itching can carry on for a few weeks.
During your consultation, our pharmacists will also be able to provide you with advice on how to prevent the spread of scabies during treatment. They may, for example, suggest that you:
Wash all bedding and clothing in the house at 50°C or higher on the first day of treatment
Put clothing that cannot be washed in a sealed bag for 3 days until the mites die
Stop babies and children sucking treatment from their hands by putting socks or mittens on them
Don’t have sex or close physical contact until you have completed the full course of treatment
Don’t share bedding, clothing or towels with someone with scabies
If you’re concerned that you or a member of your family has scabies, call into Toome Pharmacy and speak to one of our pharmacists. Alternatively, call the pharmacy and make an appointment for a consultation.
Tiny mites lay eggs in the skin, leaving silvery lines with a dot at one end.
The rash can appear anywhere, but it often starts between the fingers.