WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
What is scabies?
Scabies is a skin condition that is caused by scabies mites. Scabies mites are tiny bugs that burrow, lay eggs, and live underneath the skin.
- Scabies medicine: Prescription creams are used to treat scabies. You will need to apply them over all of your body from the neck down. Do not take these by mouth. Rarely, an oral medication is ordered if scabies is severe. Throw away any scabies medicine that you do not use. Do not use old scabies medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Prevent the spread of scabies:
- Treat all family members with scabies medicine. Tell all sex partners and anyone who has shared your clothing or bed for the past month about the scabies. Tell them to use scabies medicine even if they have no itching, rash, or burrow marks.
- Wash all items that you have used since 3 days before you learned about your scabies. Use hot water to wash all clothing, bedding, and towels. Dry them for at least 20 minutes on the hot cycle of a dryer. Dry clean items that cannot be washed in a washing machine. Place any clothing or bedding that cannot be washed or dry cleaned in a closed plastic bag for 1 week.
- Do not have close body contact with anyone until the scabies mites are gone.
Your skin may continue to itch for 2 or 3 weeks, even after the scabies mites are gone. Over-the-counter antihistamines may help relieve itching. Ask your primary healthcare provider what medicine you may use for the itching. Trim your and your child's fingernails. If some of the mites are still alive after the scabies treatment, scratching can spread them. Put mittens on small children to keep them from scratching. Scratching can also cause a skin infection.
Return to school or work:
You may return to school or work 24 hours after using scabies medicine.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- The bites become filled with pus or crusty.
- The itching gets worse after the scabies treatment.
- You have new bite or burrow marks after your treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You become dizzy, nauseous, or vomit after using medicine to treat scabies.
- You have a seizure after using medicine to treat scabies.
- You develop a fever and red, swollen, painful areas on your skin.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.