Scabies - Treatment Overview
If you suspect that you have
scabies, see your doctor as soon as possible for
treatment. Delaying treatment increases the risk that the scabies mites will
spread to other people. Scabies will not go away on its own.
- Scabies can only be cured with prescription creams,
lotions, or pills.
Nonprescription medicines are not strong enough to
kill the mites.
- Most creams
or lotions are applied to the entire body from the neck down. On infants, the
medicine is also applied to the scalp, face, and neck, taking care to avoid the
area around the mouth and eyes. The medicine usually is left on for 8 to 14
hours and then washed off.
- Children can usually return to day care or school after treatment
is completed and the medicine has been washed off. Treatment takes 1 to 3 days
depending on the medicine used.
- In some cases, the doctor may
prescribe ivermectin pills to treat the scabies.
- Your doctor may recommend that you be examined 2 weeks and 4
weeks after completing treatment, to ensure that the scabies has cleared
nodular scabies may be treated with injections of
steroids into the nodules. In rare cases, coal tar products are applied to the
You will likely continue to itch for days to weeks after
the mites are killed. This itching is caused by an ongoing
allergic reaction to the mite bites. Your doctor may
antihistamines (such as Benadryl), steroid creams,
and, in severe cases, steroid pills to help relieve itching. The allergic
reaction will usually disappear gradually.
Who else should be treated?
Anyone who has had
close physical contact with a person who is infested with scabies should be
treated. This may include several members of the same household, including
anyone who has prolonged skin-to-skin contact (sleeping, bathing, or holding
hands) with the infected person.