Scabies is caused by the itch mite, a parasite that burrows under your skin, causing itchiness that can be very annoying. To kill the itch mite, you will need to get treated.

Symptoms of scabies

Scabies causes itching about two to four weeks after the mite has entered your body. Especially when you go to bed or when you are very warm, you may experience problems with itchiness. The mite's burrows are often visible: on your wrist, between your fingers, on your feet and in the hollow of your knees. Small purple-red bumps might appear on your scrotum. You could also have scabies without being able to see any burrows. By constantly scratching the itch, also during your sleep, you can damage your skin.

Treatment of scabies

The mites can be killed by rubbing your entire body with a special cream or gel. Your head is the only place you can skip, since the mites will never go there. After treatment with the cream or gel, the itchiness might become temporarily worse while your body cleans up the dead mites.
Your steady partner and any flatmates you might have will need to get treated at the same time as you. You will also need to wash your clothes and bed linens thoroughly at 60ºC or higher. Otherwise you will continue to reinfect yourself or each other with mites.

Transmission of scabies

The itch mite is passed on from one person to another through intensive skin contact. That doesn't even need to involve sex. If you sleep in the same bed as someone who has scabies, there is a good chance that you will get it too. But you can also get it or pass it on simply by using the same towel.

Testing for scabies

Most family doctors (general practitioners) don't see many cases of scabies, so be sure to mention scabies if you think that you might have it. If you do have scabies, notify all your sex partners from the past few months. That way, they can also get tested and receive treatment.

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