Scabies is a skin rash that is caused by a mite infestation. The scabies mite burrows down into the skin, and lives under the surface of the skin. The presence of mites encourages an allergic reaction (thought to be due to the insect coat and exudate), which results in intense itching. Usually itching is worse at night and can lead to loss of sleep. The rash may take 6-12 weeks to appear after the person has been infected. The initial symptoms of itching occur between the fingers, on the wrists, at the back of the elbows or on the buttocks and genital area. In adults, the mites rarely affect the scalp and face however in infants, itching of the head is more common and treatment should also be applied to the scalp, face and ears, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Scratching can lead to secondary infections and if weeping, yellow discharge or pus is present. Patients should visit their pharmacist or doctor for treatment if they suspect they have scabies.

It is important that the whole family is treated, whether they have a rash or not. Scabies is passed on by touch from an infected person, so it is important to treat all close contacts and household members at the same time to avoid re-infecting the treated people. The best time to apply the treatment is at night time.

Permethrin: is effective against both the adult mite and the eggs in scabies and crab lice.

The itching and rash associated with scabies can persist for up to seven days, even when treatment is successful. An anti-itch cream or antihistamine tablet might be of benefit to relieve the symptoms of itching and rash associated with scabies.
Visit your pharmacist or doctor:
  • If you suspect you have scabies
  • If there are signs of infection, weeping, yellow discharge, pus and or crusting
  • If the patient is an infant under 2
  • If the face and or scalp is affected
Helpful Tips from Mulligans Pharmacy:
  • At Mulligans Pharmacy, we understand that our customers may need treatment for symptoms of a personal or sensitive nature. Our pharmacists are always available for a discreet chat in our private consultation room at your request, or you can ask a Mulligans Pharmacist a question in confidence here.
  • Scabies is passed on by touch so it is important to treat all family members at the same time
  • All bedding and clothes should be washed on high temperatures during treatment
  • Patients should apply treatments to the whole body and not just the areas where burrows are found
  • When applying treatment particular attention should be paid to the fingers, toes, wrists, ankles, armpits, groin, and buttocks.
  • If hands are washed during treatment, then the treatment should be reapplied
  • The itch and rash can persist for up to seven days after treatment.
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The information provided is intended solely as a guide. Please seek the advice of your pharmacist to determine whether a particular service, medication, or treatment programme will be of value to you. Always check the dosage directions carefully on all medicines. Never combine medicines without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. All health facts and information contained herein should not be a substitute for medical advice. The use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions.
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