Myths and Facts about Scabies

Scabies are often heard of or well-known, but are sometimes mistaken for another skin condition such as lice. The following are myths and facts that may help to clarify the condition known as scabies.

Myth: Scabies Are Fleas Caught from Infested Animals

Fact: Scabies are not caught from animals, but are caught from another infected individual from casual contact. This skin infestation is not from fleas, but from tiny insects, “mites.”

Myth: Scabies Is Only a Sexually Transmitted Disease

Fact: Transmission of the skin condition of scabies can be contracted in the groin from sexual contact, but it can also be caught from rubbing against the clothing or from the linen and towels of a contagious person.

Myth: The Affected Person Only Needs to be Treated

Fact: Everyone in the family or home needs to be treated for scabies at the same time, as if not, the scabies could return. Also, personal items such as clothes, hair accessories, towels and linens should also be treated by washing the items in very hot water and drying them at a high temperature in the dryer. Things that cannot be washed easily can be placed in an airtight plastic bag to kill the mites over a period of one week.

Special creams and lotions can be purchased to treat the infestation and other members of the family. Normally this treatment is done twice with a one-week interval between each one, as the eggs may hatch and the scabies could return.

Myth: Itchiness after Treatment Indicates Scabies

Fact: Itchiness after a treatment for an infestation of scabies does not necessarily mean that the scabies returned. An adult or child may still be itchy for a couple of weeks after having scabies.

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