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Scabies is an itchy condition, which is highly contagious.

Spread by skin contact from person to person. This condition is not just itchy it is “drive me crazy itchy”. The cause is a small, barely visible, eight-legged critter mite called Sarcoptes scabei. The mite is transferred from person to person from skin contact, sometimes as casual as a handshake. The mite will mate on the surface of your skin and the female mite will burrow under the top layer of the skin (stratum corneum) where she creates a “burrow” to lay her eggs and “raise her young”. The eggs hatch in several days and the juveniles make their way to the top of the burrow, complete their life cycle, become adults, mate, and the whole cycle repeats.

It may take three or four weeks for you to start itching after the mite has landed on your skin. So you need to recall four weeks ago what you were doing and who you were with to determine where you picked up the mite. If you do figure it out, that person needs to be notified so he or she can get treatment also. Nothing says you can’t get scabies a second or third time if your luck is really that bad. In these cases, the itching will start within a few days of contacting the mite.

Scabies is easily transferred through the family members by direct skin contact or by furniture, clothing, etc. (fomites). There are several things you can do to help rid you of these mites:

• See a dermatologist. You will need special pills that will kill the mites via the bloodstream and into the skin where the mite is living.

• The dermatologist can also supply you with a special cream to apply to your body from the chin to your toes. The mite does not go on the head, probably because it does not like the oil-rich (sebum) environment of the face and scalp. Remember, when you have scabies, all members of the family need to be treated at the same time, even if they are not itching. As I said earlier, it may take up to one month from the time the mite lands on the skin until the itching begins. If everyone is not treated you will be playing ping-pong with the mite giving it back and forth to family members or close friends.

• Use CutiCareMD® Sulfur Soap twice daily in the shower for one week. The sulfur in our specially formulated soap is actually lethal to the mite (miticidal) and will kill the mites on your skin. Work up a rich lather and allow it to stay on the skin for about 3-5 minutes and then rinse. The soap is safe for infants however; the dermatologist may give you something else to treat the infants in the family.

• After you have applied the prescription cream, wash the bed linen, put on fresh laundered clothes, and vacuum the furniture. When you launder your old clothes run them in the dryer with high heat.

• Since the mite can live off the human skin for up to 48 hours under ideal conditions, if there is anything not washable (fuzzy slippers, bedspreads/comforters, etc.) just set them aside for 48 hours and the mites will die.

You need not worry about catching or giving scabies to your pets. Dogs and cats (and other animals) can get scabies, but the variety of the mite that infests their skin is not able to complete its life cycle on human skin. Fido and Fluffy pick up their scabies from other dogs or cats, not from humans. Scabies from dogs or cats (or other animals) may at most cause a temporary itchy rash in humans, which is self-limited after 2-4 days. CutiCareMD® Sulfur Soap in the shower should be all you need to help you through this temporary itching.

CutiCareMD® Sulfur Soap, like all CutiCareMD® products are formulated with you in mind. We use no sensitizing (rash causing) chemicals, no oils or fats to plug the pores, no harsh preservatives, and we use the mildest base available—glycerin.