Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by the human scabies mite, an invisible parasite that burrows under the skin of its human host, where it lays its eggs and causes severe itching combined with a pimple-like rash. People of all genders, ages and social classes may contract scabies if exposed to the parasite, which can survive for up to three days without a host. However, certain factors may increase your risk of coming in contact with the scabies mite.
Sharing Living Quarters with a Person Who Has Scabies
Family members, roommates or people who share living quarters and have frequent, direct physical contact with each other are likely to contract scabies. The mites may be transmitted through regular, prolonged contact or by sharing clothes, towels, sheets or other bedding with someone who has scabies.
Having a Sexual Partner Who Has Scabies
Scabies mites may be easily transmitted during sexual activity, and the first appearance of the characteristic rash may be in the groin area. Prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies is one of most common sources of infestation.
Living in Crowded Conditions
In congested living conditions, scabies infestations can spread rapidly. Residents of nursing homes, prisons, dormitories and other settings where people share rooms, personal items, bathroom or laundry facilities are more likely to contract scabies.
Having a Child in a Daycare Facility
Children in daycare facilities are prone to contagious infections and infestations. Scabies miles can be transmitted from one child to another during play or meal times, or when sharing toys.
Having a Weakened Immune System
The elderly and the chronically ill may contract crusted scabies, also called Norwegian scabies, a virulent form of this parasite. People who are bed-bound due to disability are also vulnerable to crusted scabies, which creates scabbed sores that shed numerous mites. This form of scabies can be transmitted through brief person-to-person contact or through contact with furniture, bedding or clothes. Crusted scabies must be treated aggressively to avoid further outbreaks.