Causes and Symptoms

Skin Conditions

Find out more about both common and rare skin conditions, the causes and symptoms and how we can help you treat these conditions


Causes & Symptoms

Scabies is an infestation of the skin caused by a small mite known as the ‘sarcoptes scabiei var hominis mite’.  This causes a highly contagious and itchy rash that can be easily spread to other members of the same household.

The rash arises due to an allergic reaction to the mite.  However, this could take a month or more to appear after first being exposed or infested with the scabies mite. Young children and infants may produce itchy pimples on their hands and feet.

Treatment at The Skin Hospital

The infection of scabies is caused my close contact, (i.e. skin to skin) or sharing clothes and bedding with someone who has the infection.  The transfer of mites is increased in warmer temperatures as well as the itch often becoming worse at night.  The scabies mite leaves squiggly burrows in the skin, less than 1cm in length.  These burrows are usually found between the fingers, wrists, feet and genitals.

Furthermore, the mite is unable to be seen without the use of a microscope.  Scraping the skin burrows will reveal the mite, eggs or faeces when examined.

Treatment for scabies must be done by  all members of the same household who should be treated at the same time to ensure re-infection does not take place. This treatment involves all members of the family being prescribed a cream.

Furthermore, all bedding and clothes should be washed in hot water to kill the mite and its eggs.  In addition, these items can be put in a plastic bag for seven days in order to wait for the mite and its eggs to die.

If the itch continues and does not settle within a few weeks then you should be re-examined by your dermatologist.

Further Information

If you would like further information on scabies the sites below provide more in-depth descriptions of scabies:

Scabies – ACD 

Scabies – DermNet NZ 

Find a Specialist

All our dermatologists are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating Scabies. Click on the link below to find a dermatologist who can help you with your skin condition.

General Dermatology