Table of Contents
- Scabies facts
- What is scabies? Is scabies contagious? What causes a scabies infestation?
- How do you get scabies?
- Can you catch scabies from a dog or cat?
- In what special situations can scabies be more easily spread?
- What are risk factors for scabies?
- What does scabies rash look like? What are scabies symptoms and signs?
- What does scabies feel like?
- How do health care professionals diagnose a scabies infestation?
- What types of health care professionals treat scabies?
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation? What are scabies treatments for pregnant women?
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation? (Part 2)
- What are treatment options and home remedies for a scabies infestation? (Part 3)
- Are cases of scabies often misdiagnosed?
- What are possible health complications of scabies?
- What is Norwegian or crusted scabies?
- Can a scabies infestation be prevented?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for scabies?
How do health care professionals diagnose a scabies infestation?
Scabies is suggested by the presence of the typical rash and symptoms of unrelenting and worsening itch, particularly at night. Ultimately, the definitive medical diagnosis is made when evidence of mites is found from a skin scraping test. By scraping the skin (covered with a drop of mineral oil) sideways with a scalpel blade over an area of a burrow and examining the scrapings microscopically, it is possible to identify mites, eggs, or pellets. This process can be difficult, however, since burrows can be hard to identify. Sometimes scratch marks are mistaken for burrows, and even the examination of scrapings from 15 or more burrows may only reveal one or two mites or eggs. If the characteristic physical findings are present, scabies can often be treated without performing the skin scrapings necessary to identify the mites. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is available to identify the genetic material of the scabies mites when the diagnosis is difficult, though this is not generally used. The mites can also be identified in skin biopsies that are performed when other causes of skin disease are suspected.
What types of health care professionals treat scabies?
Scabies is treated by a number of different health-care professionals. The medical condition is commonly treated by primary-care doctors, including pediatricians, internal-medicine specialists, and family medicine doctors. Many patients with skin symptoms seek treatment from a dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist. Sometimes, the condition may be first treated by an emergency-medicine doctor if the patient seeks care in an emergency department.