7 common myths about scabies

You can only get scabies if you’re a child, right? Wrong. Here are seven misconceptions surrounding this condition.

20 April 2015
by Ruth Rehbock

Intense itching and inflamed, red areas around skin folds may be an indication that you or your child has scabies, a little mite that burrows into the skin.

Before you panic, make sure you’ve gone through these 7 quick points by Waheed Abdurahman, Senior Category Manager at Clicks Head Office, Pharmacy in Woodstock, Cape Town, that dispel the myths around this condition:

Myth 1: Scabies only happens in children

This is not true – both adults and children can contract scabies. It’s important that you keep a close eye on yourself or your children if one of you is diagnosed.

Myth 2: Scabies is highly contagious

Although it can spread among family members that are in close contact, it is not considered highly contagious.

Myth 3: Scabies only happens if your practice poor hygiene

This is not true as even people with excellent hygiene practices can catch scabies.

Myth 4: It is easy to spot and diagnose

Unfortunately, this is not true. Scabies can often be misdiagnosed and be confused with viral, fungal or eczema skin conditions.

Myth 5: Treatment is quick and easy

Sometimes you will need a few days or a few courses of treatment to clear scabies. The mites are tough and very resilient.

Myth 6: Scabies will always itch

The truth is, sometimes it won’t itch at all. Look out for other symptoms such as a red rash usually found in the creases of your arms, under nails, by your armpits, or even at your crotch area. 

Myth 7: Scabies is like chickenpox - you only get it once

You can catch scabies often by getting re-infected. To avoid this, make sure that you and your family receive thorough treatment and keep an eye out for symptoms that it’s recurring.