What is it and how do I get it?

Scabies is a skin disease caused by a tiny parasitic mite that lives just under the surface of your skin. Scabies can be spread by any form of skin-to-skin contact and can also be caught from infested clothing, sheets or towels.

How do I prevent it?

To prevent scabies you need to avoid contact with infected individuals. This can be difficult as they may be unaware that they have scabies. 

How do you know you've got it?

Infestation with the parasite causes a red, bumpy and very itchy rash in the affected areas, although you may notice it as small white bumps between your fingers. It is usually most noticeable around your bottom, groin, ankles, waist, wrists or armpits, and between your toes or fingers.
A sexual health clinic will look for signs of scabies as part of a routine sexual health check-up.

How do I treat it?

Treatment consists of covering your whole body, except your head, with a lotion and leaving it on for 24 hours; plus washing all bedding, clothing and towels in the hottest cycle of the washing machine. Even if the treatment is successful itching may continue for up to two weeks, so if you think you've caught it, see your pharmacist as quickly as you can. You can also get the lotion from GUM clinics.

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LAST UPDATED: 09/01/2017