Scabies

What is it?

Scabies are tiny insects that burrow underneath your skin. Scabies is usually found in places where your skin folds or creases, such as around your genitals, underneath your breasts, and in the bend of your knees and elbows. Having it has nothing to do with your hygiene or how clean you are. While scabies can be itchy and irritating, they aren’t dangerous and can be easy to get rid of.

How can I get it?

  • You can get scabies through vaginal or anal sex with a partner who has it. The infection is transmitted when your vagina or anus comes into contact with the skin or your partner’s vagina or anus.
  • You can also get it by sharing fabric items with someone who has scabies. These can include clothing, towels, and bed sheets.

How do I know if I have it?

Common symptoms of scabies include:

  • Itching on or around your genitals, especially at night. Your fingers, wrists, ankles and the bend of your knees and elbows may also be itchy.
  • A rash that looks like small pimples on or around your genitals, fingers, wrists, ankles, and the bend of your knees and elbows.

How is it treated?

Scabies is treated with medicated creams, lotions or shampoos. Since it lives on fabric as well as on the body, it’s important to treat your clothes, bedding, and towels by washing them in hot water, freezing them for 2 weeks, or storing them in an airtight bag for one week.

How can I prevent Scabies?

  • Barriers such as condoms and dental dams don’t do a great job at preventing the transmission of pubic lice, since pubic lice can live on skin that is not covered by a condom or dam. Because of this, it’s helpful to talk to your partner about potential pubic lice symptoms before engaging in sexual activity.
  • If someone you know has pubic lice, avoid sharing towels, underwear, sheets, and bathing suits with them until their treatment is complete
  • If you have had sex in the last month with someone who has pubic lice, seek treatment to ensure that you do not also have pubic lice

How will I be tested?

A healthcare provider can test for it by looking at the affected area. They might also take a small skin scraping to test for scabies mites or eggs.

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