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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Scabies is a contagious infection caused by a mite and is spread by close contact with an infected person, bedding, towels, or clothing. The female mite burrows under the skin and lays eggs. Two to four months later the eggs hatch and intense itching occurs, especially at night. Common body areas that are affected are: between the fingers, wrists, elbows, waist line, genitals, ankles, feet, palms and nipples.

Treatment for scabies is as follows:

  1. Take a warm soap and water bath or shower.
  2. A medicated lotion, which has been prescribed for you, is then applied to the entire body from the neck down, not just to the obviously affected areas.
  3. Eight to twelve hours later take another warm soap and water bath to remove the medication.

It is important that bedding, towels and clothing that has been worn in the previous 5 days be laundered (washed and dried on hot cycles, or dry-cleaned) at the same time you are being treated to avoid reinfestation. Close contacts that may be infested should also be checked.

If symtoms have not improved one week after treatment, a follow–up appointment should be made.