Scabies: When to seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Apr 04, 2012

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Scabies is a common contagious infestation caused due to mites (little bugs). The infestation can spread rampantly from one person to another, especially if they share close living spaces.

Consult a doctor if you have symptoms of scabies such as:

  • Insidious and relentless itch that becomes worse at night or disturbs sleep or leads to loss of sleep at night.
  • Skin rash, which appear as tiny red bumps that look like bites or pimples on any part of the body such as webs between the fingers, the wrists and the backs of the elbows, the knees, around the waist and umbilicus, the axiliary folds, the areas around the nipples, the sides and backs of the feet, the genital area and the buttocks.

Consult a doctor for scabies if:

  • You come in close contact with a person, who has been diagnosed with scabies. Symptoms of scabies usually start about four to six weeks after getting infected with the mite. If you are exposed to any one with scabies, get rechecked up to six weeks after you think you may have been exposed or if you develop symptoms.
  • After treatment of scabies, itching can persist for more than 2 weeks. If you have persistent itching for more than a few weeks, consult your doctor as there is always a risk of relapse.

If you have itching and skin rash, it does not mean that you have scabies. Several other skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema can cause itching and small bumps on the skin. A doctor after examination can diagnose the exact cause and treat it appropriately.

Who to consult

Health professionals, who can be consulted for scabies include:

  • General practitioner.
  • Family physician.
  • Paediatrician.
  • Dermatologist (doctor who specialises in diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases).
  • Nurse practitioner.
  • Physician’s assistant.




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