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Scabies, which is a very contagious type of skin condition, is caused due to small mites that burrow down into your skin, resulting in severe itching as the most obvious symptom, with it worsening as you are in bed at night.

Scabies also leads to skin rashes in the skin areas where any mites have made burrows.

Your IPSA Medical scabies consultation

If you believe that you might have scabies, you need to book your same-day scabies consultation at your IPSA Medical clinic. Your IPSA Medical practitioner, who is highly trained at both treating and diagnosing scabies and similar skin conditions, will undertake your scabies consultation in IPSA Medical’s calm and totally conducive private clinic setting. At IPSA Medical, your physician will always fully assess your symptoms, and will operate with IPSA Medical’s client-centred and holistic approach to assessing and diagnosing your condition and providing the best treatment options. Scabies does not usually have serious health implications, but it is very important that you get scabies treated as quickly as possible.

Mites

The scabies mite has the Latin name of Sarcoptes scabiei. These scabies mites are able to feed off you as they use their mouths and front legs to burrow down into your epidermis (that is the outer layer of your skin), and it is here that they then lay eggs.

It takes from 3-4 days for these baby mites (or larvae) to begin to hatch and they then move out onto your skin surface, maturing into adult form.

Scabies mites prefer warm environments to live in (e.g. in your skin folds, in between your fingers or underneath your fingernails, or around your breast/buttock creases). The scabies mites also live underneath your rings, your watchstrap and underneath bracelets.

How does the scabies mite spread?

Scabies usually manages to spread via extended skin-to-skin contact with a scabies-infected individual, or scabies spreads via sexual contact.

It is quite rare, but it is possible for scabies mites to be passed on via shared towels, shared clothing and shared bedding from an already infected individual.

Following your initial scabies infection, it can take anything up to 8 weeks for the relevant symptoms to start. This ‘waiting’ phase is called the ‘incubation’ period.

Outbreaks of scabies

Scabies outbreaks are widespread, usually in areas of dense population that have no/limited access to high standards of medical care. Scabies outbreaks most often occur in tropical/subtropical regions such as India, Africa, Central and South America, Central and Northern Australia, the Caribbean Islands and Southeast Asia.

In the more developed regions and countries, e.g. in the UK, the outbreaks can take place where many people come into contact, for example, in nurseries, in schools and in elderly care homes.

In the United Kingdom, outbreaks mostly happen during winter, perhaps because we tend to spend more time inside and we are in closer contact with each other when it is colder.

Estimating the extent of scabies outbreaks and cases in the United Kingdom is not easy because a large percentage of affected people do not visit their doctors and they tend to treat scabies by using the available non-prescription medications.

Scabies treatment at your IPSA Medical clinic

Permethrin cream or malathion lotion (Derbac M) are two of the usual treatments that are used for scabies. Both of these scabies medications make use of insecticides that kill scabies mites.

Your IPSA Medical clinician usually recommends a 5% permethrin cream as your initial line of treatment; if this is not totally effective, then your IPSA Medical physician will then suggest using 0.5% malathion lotion.

If you, or if your partner, are diagnosed with genital scabies by your IPSA Medical practitioner, then to avoid becoming re-infected, your IPSA Medical practitioner will recommend a genital scabies treatment. Only after taking your complete treatment course for genital scabies should you have close body contact or engage in any sexual activity.

Does scabies lead to any complications?

Sometimes secondary skin infections develop from your initial scabies infection due to inflammation/irritation brought about through excessive itching.

If you have a reduced immunity or are older, then sometimes a rare and more serious type of scabies can develop, known as ‘crusted scabies’, and it comes about due to excessive mites being present in your skin.

If you do suspect that you have scabies, book your immediate IPSA Medical scabies consultation by phoning IPSA Medical or visiting IPSA Medical’s online booking service.

Request a call back

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