Scabies: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by a tiny mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. It is characterized by intense itching, rash, and the presence of small burrow-like tracks on the skin. Scabies can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and it spreads easily through close personal contact. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for scabies.


Scabies is primarily caused by the infestation of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. These microscopic mites burrow into the outer layer of the skin, where they lay eggs and reproduce. The infestation leads to an allergic reaction in the host, resulting in the classic symptoms of scabies.

The mites are usually transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. However, scabies can also be spread indirectly through contaminated clothing, bedding, or towels. Crowded living conditions, such as those in prisons, nursing homes, and childcare facilities, can facilitate the rapid spread of scabies.


  • Intense Itching: The hallmark symptom of scabies is severe itching, which often worsens at night. The itching is a result of the mites burrowing into the skin and laying eggs, as well as the body’s allergic reaction to their presence.
  • Skin Rash: Scabies typically causes a red, pimple-like rash that may appear in clusters or as small raised bumps. These rashes can occur anywhere on the body but are commonly found between the fingers, on the wrists, elbows, knees, and in the genital area.
  • Burrow Tracks: In some cases, scabies mites create thin, winding, grayish-white lines on the skin’s surface. These tracks, known as burrows, are the tunnels where the mites have burrowed under the skin. They are most commonly seen on the fingers, wrists, and elbows.
  • Secondary Infections: Prolonged scratching of scabies-affected skin can lead to open sores, which may become infected with bacteria. This can result in additional symptoms such as pain, redness, and pus. Refer to a Dermatologist in Karachi for a detailed examination.
  • Generalized Symptoms: Scabies can also cause more generalized symptoms, including fever and fatigue, although these are less common.


Diagnosing scabies often involves a physical examination by a healthcare provider. They may examine the affected areas of the skin and look for signs such as burrow tracks or a rash. In some cases, a skin scraping may be taken from an affected area and examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of mites, eggs, or mite feces.


Once diagnosed, scabies can be effectively treated with prescription medications. Treatment typically involves two main approaches:

  • Topical Creams or Lotions: The most common medications used to treat scabies are topical creams or lotions that contain scabicidal agents like permethrin or ivermectin. These products are applied to the entire body from the neck down and left on for a specified period before being washed off. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider carefully.
  • Oral Medications: In some cases, oral medications like ivermectin may be prescribed for individuals with severe or crusted scabies. This medication is taken by mouth as a single dose.

Additional measures that can aid in the treatment and prevention of scabies include:

  • Washing all clothing, bedding, and towels in hot water and drying them on high heat.
  • Vacuuming and cleaning the home to remove any potential mites.
  • Informing close contacts so that they can be examined and treated if necessary.

It’s important to continue monitoring and follow-up with your healthcare provider to ensure the scabies infestation is fully resolved.


Preventing the spread of scabies involves taking certain precautions:

  • Avoid Close Contact: If you know someone has scabies, try to avoid close skin-to-skin contact with them until they have completed their treatment.
  • Launder Items: Wash and dry clothing, bedding, and towels used by an infected person in hot water and high heat settings.
  • Isolate Personal Items: Keep personal items, such as clothing and towels, separate to prevent potential contamination.
  • Inform Close Contacts: Inform those who have had close contact with the infected individual so that they can seek prompt treatment if needed.


Scabies is a common and highly contagious skin condition caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. It presents with symptoms like intense itching, skin rashes, and burrow tracks on the skin. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to managing the condition and preventing its spread. With appropriate medical intervention and hygiene measures, scabies can be effectively treated, and individuals can regain their skin health. If you suspect you have scabies or have been in close contact with someone who does, seek medical advice to receive the necessary treatment and prevent further transmission. For more information visit a Dermatologist in Lahore.

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