Scabies - How it's Contracted

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How do you get scabies?

Direct skin-to-skin contact is the mode of transmission. Scabies mites are very sensitive to their environment. They can only live off of a host body for 24-36 hours under most conditions. Transmission of the mites involves close person-to-person contact of the skin-to-skin variety. It is hard, if not impossible, to catch scabies by shaking hands, hanging your coat next to someone who has it, or even sharing bedclothes that had mites in them the night before. Sexual physical contact, however, can transmit the disease. In fact, sexual contact is the most common form of transmission among sexually active young people, and scabies has been considered by many to be a sexually transmitted disease (STD). However, other forms of physical contact, such as mothers hugging their children, are sufficient to spread the mites. Over time, close friends and relatives can contract it this way, too. School settings typically do not provide the level of prolonged personal contact necessary for transmission of the mites.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: scabies arghhh!, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: March 17

You can"t get scabies from your pets, they don"t get scabies; it"s called mange and does not transfer to humans nor from humans to pets. Scabies do not live on your head or above your neck if your scalp is itchy it"s something else. Try Calamine lotion for the itch and talk to your doctor about topical or oral treatments, not every treatment may work for every patient. Be diligent, scabies mites don"t live off the body for very long maybe 20-30 hours tops. If you think you got infected by sitting on a bus bench you didn"t. Scabies mites don"t jump or fly. I am not trying to state that people here aren"t infected and going through terrible itching episodes just that you need to know what you have and how to treat it before you go spreading around that someone walked by you in the hallway and now you are infected, it just doesn"t happen. Do your research and speak with your doctor. It does suck but it will pass. Good luck to everyone that is dealing with this nightmare.

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Comment from: GailD, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I spent the Thanksgiving weekend 350 miles from home visiting family in Pompano Beach. We stayed 4 nights in a motel. One month later I started itching but it was on my legs. In January I saw my primary care physician, who prescribed antibiotic for the rash. I then went to the dermatologists 3 times. They did do a biopsy the second time and the result was "contact dermatitis and eczema." They prescribed a lotion to rub on my areas of rash. I went to see my PC physician last Tuesday and she asked if I"d been diagnosed with scabies. I said "No, but two months ago when I had my dog at the vet I asked her to do a skin scraping," knowing that she was not allowed to, but I think that was when I first thought I might have scabies. On Tuesday I started the skin medication, prednisone tablets and an antihistamine for relief of the itches. It"s horrible, and on top of it the Center for Disease Control (CDC) claims it is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which infuriates me, because I know I didn"t do anything of that nature. Oh, well, hopefully I"ll start getting better.

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