Scabies is a small spider-like animal, a mite. The scavenger enters the skin and makes passages in the outer layer of the skin where they lay their eggs. The most common symptom is it itching, especially at night. Scabies is usually treated with medicines that you apply to your skin. Scabies is usually transmitted through close body contact.

The scab is 0.3 to 0.4 millimeters. An otherwise healthy person who has scabies can have up to ten scabies in the skin. People with impaired immune systems and the elderly can have hundreds.

There are several different species of scabies. Scabies from animals such as cats and dogs, cannot multiply on human skin but can cause bites such as itching.

Symptoms of scabies

When you have scabies it usually itches a lot, especially in the evenings and nights. It can itch anywhere on the body. Usually, it does not scratch the head.

The walkings of the animal can be difficult to detect. The corridors are light, thread-narrow, centimeter-long and zigzag-shaped. They are easiest to look at hands and feet. You can also see them on other skin areas such as the navel, the back end, the nipples, and the genitals. In children, they may be easier to see on their feet.

Sometimes small blisters and red bumps can occur in the corridors. You can get eczema-like skin changes, tear marks and sometimes infected small wounds if you itch.

Scabies with scabies

You can get scales and scabs that contain scabies if you are older or have a reduced immune system. It depends on the large number of marine animals. Another word for scabies is crusts and therefore it is called crustacean scab. The itching is not always so clear.

It may take some time before it starts to itch

The itching is due to a hypersensitivity reaction to the scab. It may take about 4-6 weeks after you become infected before it begins to itch. During this time you have no symptoms of scabies but can still infect others.

If you have had scabies before and become infected again, it may start itching after two days.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health care center if itching or if you think you have a scab. It is important to find out if it is scabies before you treat yourself, as itching may have other causes.

If you live with or have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with scabies, you do not need to seek care. Then you should be treated at the same time as the one with scabies.

You should contact a health care center if it is still itching four weeks after treatment, or if you have been trouble-free and it begins to itch again.


In order to make a safe diagnosis, the doctor must find a scab. The doctor uses a magnifying glass and removes a scab with a needle. Then the doctor looks at it in a microscope to confirm that it is scabies. If your doctor is unsure, get a referral to a dermatologist to get a safe diagnosis.

Treat with non-prescription drug

Everyone who lives with, or has had close contact with, someone who has been diagnosed with scabies should be treated at the same time. Otherwise, there is a risk that someone who is infected but has not yet received itching will continue to spread the infection.

The drug used primarily is Tenutex, which you can buy without a prescription at a pharmacy. The drug is liquid and should be lubricated on the body.

There are also prescription drugs, which may be needed if, for example, you cannot use Tenutex or have a crustacean scab.

How to use

Adults and children over one year should apply Tenutex to the entire body, except the head. For children under one year, the head should also be lubricated. The same applies to elderly people and people with a reduced immune system.

The drug should remain for 24 hours. Carefully follow the operating instructions that come with the package.

After washing your hands during the day of treatment, lubricate your hands with the drug again.

After treatment, wash clothes, bedding, and towels at 60 degrees. Things that are used and cannot be washed, such as shoes and gloves, should be ventilated for 2-3 days.

You should do the treatment for scabies twice at one-week intervals.

Cream if it continues to itch

Even after the treatment, you may have an itching for several weeks. This is because the allergic reaction continues as long as dead mollusks or their stools remain in the skin. Scabies disappears when the outermost layer of skin has been replaced by the skin’s normal turnover of skin cells.

You can lubricate the areas that itch with a cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone to relieve the itching. You should consult a doctor before using hydrocortisone in children under 2 years of age. You can buy the cream and ointment at a pharmacy without a prescription.

Infects through close body contact

You may become infected if you have body contact with someone who has scabies. The body contact should be close and a little longer. For example, scabies can be transmitted by holding someone in the hand, sleeping in the same bed or sleeping close together. One group that has been infected in recent years is teenagers. This is probably due to several opportunities for close contact, for example as they sit close to each other a little longer in front of computers and tablets.

Scabies can also be infected through clothing, bedding, and towels. But it is unusual. The risk of infection is small during normal temporary body contact at work or school.

If you have had scabies and are working with the elderly or with people who have immune defenses, you should inform the nurse or manager at your workplace. It is important to detect in time if someone has been infected with scabies.

Crustous scab infects more easily

Crustacean scab infects easier than a normal scab. Infection can occur through shorter skin contact and also through crusts on clothes, in bedding and on furniture. Therefore, outbreaks of scabies can occur, for example, in elderly homes and hospitals. Then both people living there and the staff can be infected.

Can children go to preschool or school?

Children should be at home during the day of treatment.

The preschool should be informed that your child has had scabies. Then staff and parents may be aware of any symptoms.

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