If you had prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person infected with scabies, the parasitic mites may crawl and make their way into your body.
However, scabies symptoms will not manifest until after a few weeks because it takes time for scabies mites to burrow into your skin and deposit larvae, which both lead to irritation. This is called the incubation period.
Watch Out for These Scabies Signs and Symptoms
Below are some of the common symptoms of scabies to watch out for. Keep in mind, though, that even before any of these symptoms develop, as long as the mites are already living on your skin, you are infectious – you can spread scabies even before you know you have this infestation.
• Severe and intense itching. This tends to occur in only one place at first, before spreading to other areas. The itch is generally worse at night and after a hot bath. In most people, the itch is felt all over the body, even in areas where the mites are not present.
• Rashes. The blotchy and lumpy reddish rashes caused by scabies can appear anywhere on the body. The rashes may appear like tiny blisters or pimple-like bumps.1
In the elderly, young children and people with a compromised immune system, rashes may also develop on the head and neck. It’s important to refrain from scratching the rashes as much as possible, as it can lead to the formation of crusty sores.2
• Burrows. Also known as mite tunnels, these are fine, dark, or silvery lines on the skin. They are usually about 2 to 10 millimeters long, and are often found on the loose skin between the fingers (the web spaces), the inner surface of the wrists and on the hands.
However, they may develop on any part of the skin, where the mites reside. Some people do not notice the burrows until a rash or itch develops. In young children, the mite tunnels appear on the head/scalp, neck, palms and soles. In adults and older children, aside from the areas mentioned above, they are usually found:3
◦ In the armpits
◦ On your inner elbow
◦ Around your waist
◦ On the knees
◦ On the soles of your feet
◦ Around the breasts (chest area)
◦ On the shoulder blades
◦ Around the male genital area
◦ On the buttocks
• Worsened pre-existing skin condition. If you have a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, scabies can worsen its symptoms, leading to further discomfort. It is also usually harder to diagnose scabies in people with any of these skin problems.
• Thick crust on the skin. If your scabies remains untreated, the rashes may become crusty. Beware, as this means that you have severe type of scabies called crusted scabies or Norwegian scabies.4
If you see any of these signs and symptoms, consult your physician immediately, so they can check if you have this illness and help you come up with an effective treatment plan.