Scabies (pronounced: skay bees) is a parasitic STD where parts of the body become extremely itchy due to an infestation of tiny mites that have burrowed into the skin.

Though scabies can be spread through skin to skin contact during sexual play, it can affect anyone – even non-sexually active people of any age – that have come in contact with a towel, bed sheets, furniture, or other personal belongings that an infected person has used. View photos of scabies on various body parts on the STD Project’s site here.

Upon the first scabies outbreak, symptoms (rash, itchiness) will appear within 4 to 6 weeks after exposure. If someone has previously been infected, outbreaks will usually occur within a few days. Scabies is fairly easy to diagnose; typically doctors will look for evidence of mites by scraping off dry skin from an infected area and examining it under a microscope. Scabies will not go away without treatment. In most cases a scabicide (cream or lotion designed to kill scabies and their eggs) is prescribed. In severe cases, a doctor may also prescribe pills to take.

Note: anyone that is diagnosed with scabies, as well as his or her sexual partners and other contacts who have had prolonged skin to skin contact with the infested person, should be treated to prevent re-infestation. Some scabies medicines have dangerous side effects and are not safe for children, older adults, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. If you have scabies, you and anyone you have close contact with must all be treated at the same time. This keeps the mites from being passed back and forth from person to person. You must also carefully wash and run all clothes, towels, and bedding through a dryer.

Learn more here on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) site. To find a location to get tested for scabies visit our resources page, or Google test centers in your area.

***This is a blog and the information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor is it meant to take the place of your personal physician’s advice.***