Scabies - Symptoms
If you have
scabies, you will likely have itching and irritated
skin that gets worse until the mites are killed.
Itching usually starts first. It often
becomes noticeable at night or after bathing and is sometimes mistaken for dry
skin. Itching is caused by an allergic reaction to the scabies mite. Sometimes
the itching is very intense, especially in small children and older adults.
Irritated skin often appears as a rash
and skin sores that look like tiny curving tracks. These symptoms are a result of
the mite tunneling under the upper layers of the skin. Sometimes you can see a
small blister or the mite itself, which looks like a tiny black dot, at the end
of a burrow. The tracks may be hard to see after you scratch the area.
Babies may only have red and inflamed skin, sometimes with small sores that are
Symptoms are most likely to develop:
- Between the fingers and on the palm side of the wrists.
- On the outside surfaces of the elbows and in the armpits.
- Around the waistline and navel.
- On the buttocks.
- Around the nipples, bra line, and the sides of the breasts (in
- On the genitals (in men).
In babies and small children, itching and skin irritation
may also occur:
- Around or on the scalp, neck, and face.
- On the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Often the first
symptom noticed in a baby is in these areas and is a series of tiny sores that
are like blisters (vesicles).
sores, called secondary lesions, can develop later in the course of the
condition. Problems may include:
- Scratches, sometimes covered by a crust. Scratching the scabies
burrows can irritate and break open the skin.
- Red, dry, scaly, irritated areas of skin.
- Nodular scabies. These are small reddish brown raised
areas (nodules). The nodules may develop in covered areas such as the armpits,
groin, buttocks, scrotum, and penis. The nodules itch and may persist for weeks
or months after scabies has been cured.
Babies and older adults are especially at risk for these
lesions, because they may not be treated right away. Early symptoms in babies
and older adults are more likely to be missed or mistaken for