Scabies is caused by the itch mite. The females burrow into the skin, where they lay eggs. You can’t see the mites themselves, but you can see the tunnels.

What is scabies?

Scabies is very contagious. You can get it by having sex, but also by sleeping in a bed or wearing clothes belonging to someone who has scabies. Scabies causes annoying itching, but it’s not serious.

Scabies needs to be treated by a doctor as it won’t go away by itself.


About two to six weeks after infection, you’ll feel itching all over your body. It will be especially bad at night, because of the warmth in your bed. Tunnels are mainly noticeable on wrists, between fingers, in knee cavities and under the breasts. Small red-purple bumps may develop on the genitals. Scratching does not help and may even damage the skin. Have you had scabies before? If so, the symptoms can appear after a few days.


Scabies can be treated with a cream or a gel from your doctor. Always read the instructions before use and make sure you follow them. It’s important that your partner(s) and anyone else you share bed or clothes with are also treated. Even if they have no symptoms, they may have been infected. 


To prevent scabies from returning, wash your clothing and bedding at a minimum of 60°C. Put anything you can’t wash in a sealed plastic bag for at least 2-3 days (48-72 hours). Air your mattress and pillows.  Don’t forget to wash your partner’s bedding, towels and clothes!