Scabies is a very contagious skin disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The mite is so tiny that it can be seen only with a magnifying glass or under a microscope. The mite can infect anyone irrespective of age, gender, race, social class or personal-hygiene. It is transmitted from one person to another through direct skin contact and occasionally by contaminated bedding, towels and clothes.
How long does scabies last?
The mite cannot survive for more than three days without a human host. It, however, can live for about a month when living on a human. When on a human host, the mite lays eggs that hatch and grow into adult mites. Therefore, if a person gets infected with the symptoms of the condition, it can last for months or even years without treatment.
Treatment for scabies is very effective. Topical medications for application kill the mites promptly. Appropriate treatment is generally very effective at curing scabies.
Itching is the most common symptom of scabies that may not completely stop for two weeks or more despite successful treatment. If you have itching for a few weeks after treatment, it does not necessarily indicate that the treatment failed. Your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine such as Benadryl or a short course of either topical or oral steroids to control the itching. Relief from the itching can be obtained by soaking the affected area in cool water and using calamine lotion. Consult the doctor in four weeks if there is persistent itching after treatment to rule out re-infection or incomplete cure.