Scabies is a condition that can occur in humans. Scabies is caused by a skin infestation by human itch mites. These mites are microscopic and therefore cannot be seen with the naked eye. When these mites get onto a person’s skin, they proceed to burrow into the upper layer of the skin. Once burrowed into the skin, the mites lay eggs, which in turn hatch and grow. The treatment of a scabies condition can be a challenging task. With that said, because of the ways in which a person can contract scabies, the presence of mites in a person’s home also needs to be addressed.

Signs and Symptoms of Scabies

There are two primary signs and symptoms of scabies:

  • Oftentimes severe itching, usually worse during the night
  • Irregular, thin burrow-like tracks which are made up of tiny bumps or blisters on the skin

More often than not, the tracks or burrows are found in folds of the skin. However, tracks and burrows can be found on the skin anywhere on a person’s body. When an adult or older child is afflicted with scabies, signs and symptoms usually occur:

  • Inside of armpits
  • Between fingers
  • Around waist
  • Insides of wrists
  • Inner elbows
  • Soles of feet
  • Around breasts
  • Around male’s genital area
  • On buttocks
  • On knees

In the case of infants and young children with scabies, signs and symptoms appear on:

  • Scalp
  • Palms of hands
  • Soles of feet

A person who never has had scabies may not see symptoms of an infection by these parasites for as long as six weeks after the initial infestation. If a person contracts scabies but previously had scabies and the condition was resolved, symptoms usually appear within a few days.

The symptoms of scabies are a response to:

  • Burrowing mites
  • Mite eggs
  • Mite larvae
  • Mite waste

There are also two general types of scabies conditions:

  • Standard
  • Crusted

A person with standard scabies likely has about 10 to 15 mites infecting his or her body. On the other hand, a person with crusted scabies (also known as Norwegian scabies) has infestation numbering millions of mites.

The signs and symptoms of standard scabies have just been presented. When a scabies condition progresses to a state of becoming crusted scabies, large areas of an infected person’s body are covered with red, crusty scales. Crusted scabies is a highly contagious condition.

If scabies isn’t treated in a timely manner, a person can end up with a skin infection. Oftentimes, such an infection can be treated with antibiotics. However, the possibility also exists that a person could develop a MRSA infection which is challenging to treat and which doesn’t respond readily to antibiotics.

Life Cycle of Itch Mite

As discussed a moment ago, adult itch mites burrow into a person’s skin and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, mite larvae work their way back up to the surface of the skin, where they mature. Whilst in the larval stage, and once becoming adults, mites can then spread to other areas of a person’s body, to objects and surfaces an infected person comes into contact, and directly to other people.

Medical Treatment for Scabies

A doctor provides a patient with scabies a topical treatment prescription. The medications prescribed for scabies typically are:

  • Permethrin
  • Lindane
  • Crotamiton
  • Ivermectin

Typically, a doctor will recommend that more than the obviously infected areas be treated with the topical cream or lotion. Because scabies mites can infect an entire body rather easily, a doctor is likely to recommend that the cream or lotion be spread all over an infected person’s body. The recommendation is likely to be that the medication remain in place for eight to 10 hours. In some cases, a doctor may recommend a second application.

In addition to treating a person actually showing signs of scabies infection, a doctor is also likely to recommend that everyone in a household where such a person lives to be treated in the same manner. Attacking scabies mites on the skin of an obviously infected person and others in a house may not be enough to prevent a spread of the condition or even reinfection. As noted earlier, scabies mites can end up on objects and surfaces in a residence (or other location). Thus, scabies cleanup needs to extend to eliminating the mites from these other items as well.

Steps to Scabies Cleanup

Scabies mites can survive up to 72 hours on objects and surfaces in a home. Because a person can easily come into contact with these mites during that time period, the ideal course is to take affirmative steps to eliminate mites on objects and surfaces in a home when the residents themselves are being treated.

Scabies cleanup needs to include:

  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • Wash towels
  • Furniture
  • Other objects
  • Surfaces
  • Walls
  • Doors
  • Doorknobs
  • Plumbing fixtures

In short, scabies cleanup needs to include any surface or object in which a person can come into contact.

A person can attempt to undertake scabies cleaning on his or her own. This includes washing clothing, bedding, wash towels, and so forth in hot water and drying these items at high temperatures. Some mites may be able to be contained and eliminated through vacuuming. In the end, unless a person wants to vacate his or her home for a period of more than 72 hours, hiring a professional to come to the home to eradicate scabies mites may want to be considered. In short, a professional scabies cleanup company has the experience, equipment, and other resources necessary to eradicate scabies mites from a home (or business).

If a person develops a serious infection, specifically a MRSA infection, as the result of a scabies issues, hiring a professional remediation company is highly recommended. In such a scenario, not only do scabies mites need to be eradicated fully but a MRSA contamination also needs to be addressed. In the final analysis, only an infectious disease cleanup company has the background, medical-grade disinfecting agents, and associated equipment needed to eliminate something like MRSA bacteria from a home or business.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.