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Scabies comes from tiny insects (mites) that cause itching. They get onto your body during sex. Or if you get very close to someone. Scabies can be treated. If you use the treatment the right way and clean things in your home properly, that usually gets rid of it.

Signs and symptoms

You can’t see the mites yourself. But you can see the tunnels they burrow. Symptoms you may have are:

  • Itching, sometimes all over your body
  • The itching getting worse at night and when it’s warm
  • Visible tunnels on your wrists, between your fingers, in your knee cavities, under your breasts
  • Reddish-purple bumps on your penis or vagina
  • Raw, red skin from scratching

The symptoms start 2 to 6 weeks after you’ve become infected with scabies.


Scabies can be treated with tablets or a cream. You can go to your doctor for this. Always read the instructions before use and make sure you follow them. 

There are other people who should also use the cream, even if they don't have any symptoms:

  • People you regularly have sex with
  • People you share a bed or clothes with
  • People you live with
  • Anyone else you’ve touched for longer than 15 minutes

It can take between 2 and 6 weeks before the symptoms disappear.

Make sure scabies doesn’t come back

This is how to make sure you don’t get scabies again: 

  • Wash your clothes, towels and bedding well at a minimum of 60°C
  • If something can’t be washed, like a quilt or a soft toy, put it in a rubbish bag for 3 days. Seal the bag well
  • Air mattresses and pillows. Preferably for 3 days