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: Ethel S., 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 01

I'm a foster parent and I kept a 3 month old baby for one week because his foster mother went on vacation. The foster mother told me that the baby had a rash but she didn't know what it was. She thought maybe it was eczema but it wasn't. The condition was also making her itch and she showed me a few healed scars. I came home with the baby and when it became night time to put him to bed I noticed he had broken out with scabies all over his body. He went back home but now I'm itching. I was prescribed permethrin but it's not helping me.

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Comment from: litttlemama, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I have scabies and the only way I could have gotten it was at a hair cutting business. They put a tiny piece of paper around your neck and then that plastic cape. That's where I got it first, on my neck, so beware men, women and children!

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