What is scabies?

Scabies is a common, very itchy rash caused by mites. The female mites burrow into the outer layers of the skin to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch and the young mites start new burrows. The mites irritate the skin and result in a rash which is very itchy. Mites are passed very easily from person to person by touching or holding hands. Therefore, both the mother and other close contacts often also have scabies. It is common to have scabies among a group of friends at school and in overcrowded homes with shared beds.

The rash of scabies is due to an allergy to the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. After infestation with mites, it takes about a month for the child to become sensitized to the mites. Only then does the itch and rash start.

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