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Frequently Asked Questions About Scabies

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  • Based on how the mites affect the human skin, scabies almost always end up becoming full-blown once they burrow
  • The main difference between scabies and bed bugs is that bed bugs simply bite on your skin, suck up your blood and retreat to their hiding places, while scabies mites burrow into your skin and use it as their actual home

Q: What do scabies bites look like?

A: There are several indicators on how to know if you have scabies. The first sign is intense itching on the affected area. Afterward, rashes form and they may appear like tiny blisters. In addition, you may get mite tunnels, which occur when female mites burrow under your skin to lay eggs. These appear as fine, silvery lines on your skin that are around 2 to 20 millimeters long.1

Q: What kills scabies effectively?

A: There are several home remedies for scabies that are readily available. Tea tree oil for example, contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol, which is known for its ability to help kill scabies mites. You can apply the oil directly to your rashes or add it to your bathwater.

Turmeric and cayenne pepper are known to be helpful in relieving symptoms. They both contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help the pain and blisters subside. The Treatment and Home Remedies page contains directions on how to use these two items, as well as other home remedies you can try.

Q: Is it possible to get mild scabies only?

A: Based on how the mites affect the human skin, scabies almost always end up becoming full-blown once they burrow. After several weeks during the incubation period, rashes form where the mites have decided to lay eggs. The condition can worsen if you scratch your rashes, which can allow staph bacteria to enter the wounds, causing a secondary infection.

In severe cases, scabies can progress into a condition called crusted scabies, wherein thousands or millions of mites live on the surface of your skin.2

Q: Can you see scabies mites right away?

A: There’s practically no way to identify scabies through a normal visual inspection. Most mites are only less than half a millimeter long, and the body typically carries 10 to 15 mites at a time only. To look for mites effectively, you need to use a microscope.3

Q: What’s the difference between scabies and bed bugs?

A: At first, it’s easy to confuse scabies bites with bed bugs bites because both are essentially caused by tiny insects. They also produce similar symptoms, which are rashes, swollen patches on the bite areas and itchiness. The main difference is that bed bugs simply bite on your skin, suck up your blood and retreat to their hiding places. Scabies mites, on the other hand, burrow into your skin and use it as their actual home.4

Q: What is the incubation period of scabies?

A: The incubation period of scabies varies, but it usually takes anywhere between two and six weeks. If you notice itchy rashes starting to form, get help right away to check if they are caused by scabies. It’s possible that they are caused by a different skin disease. In essence, it’s important to have any rashes checked immediately to undergo the correct treatment.5

Q: Can scabies kill you?

A: Scabies itself isn’t known to be fatal, but it can be an indirect cause of fatality. If the scabies rashes are scratched and become infected with staph bacteria, you can get systemic sepsis, which is a bacterial infection of your bloodstream. Sepsis can cause serious complications to your internal organs if left untreated.6

Q: Does bleach kill scabies?

A: Some people recommend using bleach and claim that it is effective. However, there’s very little scientific evidence to support this. In addition, bleach is incredibly corrosive and can actually harm your skin. Instead, use home remedies such as tea tree oil to help you experience relief from the itchiness in a safe and natural manner.7

MORE ABOUT SCABIES

Scabies: Introduction

What Is Scabies?

Scabies Causes

Scabies Types

Scabies Symptoms

Scabies In Children

Scabies Treatment

Scabies Prevention

Scabies FAQ

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[+] Sources and References [-] Sources and References

  • 1 University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, “Parasitic Mites of Humans”
  • 2, 6 DermNet New Zealand, “Scabies”
  • 3, 5 WebMD, “Scabies Slideshow: Symptoms, Cause and Treatments”
  • 4 Terminix, “Bed Bugs Versus Scabies — Simple Ways to Tell Them Apart” March 23, 2015
  • 7 BeyondDisease.com, “13+ Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Scabies Fast” July 8, 2015
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