What are Scabies?

These are tiny mites that are transmitted through close contact with someone who is infected - not always through sexual contact.

  • A mite that is passed through close contact.
  • Intensely itchy.
  • Easily diagnosed in the clinic by looking.
  • Treated with lotion applied to the skin.

What are the symptoms?

They cause intense itching of the affected areas, usually worse at night and sometimes the burrows of the mites can be seen with the naked eye between the finger spaces.

Spots (raised, itchy pink or red) may appear on the penis and scrotum where the mites have burrowed and irritated the skin. This is less common on the vulva in women.

How is it diagnosed?

We diagnose this by looking and occasionally we may pick one of the insects off and look under the microscope at it - they are harmless.

What is the treatment?

Application of a lotion you can buy over the counter or get from the clinics to all areas of the skin from the neck down twice - a week apart from each other.

Antihistamine tablets may help with itching.

Washing all clothes, towels and bedding at hottest temperature they will tolerate.

Sexual partners and all household contacts need treatment too.

Useful information

For more information on scabies visit the NHS website.