When you live together with many people in one building, there is a chance that you get an infectious disease, like scabies.
Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by the scabies mite. The scabies mite is so small, it cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The most important symptom is itching, which develops between 2 to 6 weeks after infestation. The itching is worse at night or when you are hot.
How do you get infected?
You can become infected after intensive physical contact with someone who has scabies. This can include physical care of a person’s body, sexual contact or sharing a bed and clothes.
Where do the lesions occur?
The scabies mite prefers nestling between the fingers, on the inside of the wrist, the outside of the elbow, in the armpits, on buttocks and thighs, around the belly button, on the feet and genitalia.
How do you treat scabies?
Scabies does not heal naturally, but you can treat it.
- Treatment involves applying a cream against scabies to your entire body and following a number of hygiene measures. The cream is only available on doctor prescription.
- Usually, 1 treatment is sufficient. The treatment is repeated after 1 week in severe cases or if there are doubts about the treatment being carried out properly the first time.
Follow hygiene measures
Follow these hygiene measures before you apply the cream:
- Wash all bedclothes and all clothes you wore in the past 3 days before being treated at 60°C or hotter.
- Clothes that cannot be washed, textile toys, shoes and slippers must be placed in tightly sealed plastic bags. Do not open the bags for 3 days and keep them at room temperature.
- You can also place the clothes and shoes in closed bags in the freezer for 12 hours, at -20°C.
Apply the cream
- Cut your fingernails short and clean under the nails.
- Remove jewellery and watch.
- Apply it over your entire body, from your jawline to the soles of your feet. Don’t forget to include under your nails, in skin folds and between your fingers and toes.
- For children aged 2 months to 2 years, apply it on their head and face as well (avoid the zone around the mouth and eyes if there are no lesions there).
- Let someone else apply it on your back.
- Leave the cream on your body for 12 hours.
- After applying the cream to children, put on socks or mittens to prevent salve getting in their mouth.
- Reapply cream to your hands each time after washing them.
- Reapply cream to your genital region and buttock folds after each toilet visit.
- If you are helping someone to apply the cream, put clothes in bags or change bedclothes, wear an apron with long sleeves and disposable gloves.
After applying the cream
- Dress in clean clothes and change the bedclothes.
- Take a shower or bath after 12 hours and put on clean clothes again.
- If you start the treatment in the evening, change the bedclothes in the morning again.
What can you do about the itching?
In the first week after treatment with the cream, the itching can get worse due to an allergic reaction to the mite.The itching can persist for 4 weeks.
A moisturizing cream or antipruritic agent can offer relief.If the itching persists, the lesions get worse or new lesions appear, it is best to consult your doctor. Your doctor may decide to repeat the treatment.