​Scabies

Scabies is a contagious infection that is caused when mites create burrows in the skin, consequently developing severe itching around the areas of its burrow.  Small, red bumps might also develop on the skin along with itching, indicating inflammation under the skin. The intensity of the itch might increase during the night.

Scabies is highly contagious and can easily pass from one person to another just by touch. It can affect men and women of all ages and living situations. Because of this nature of scabies, our doctors recommend treatment for the entire family or peer groups.

To cure this, the treatment kills the mites buried in the skin and the itching goes away within a period of five days to few weeks. Once the eggs are killed, you still might feel itching for several days, but it’s nothing to panic about as it is the usual pace of treatment. In case the treatment is not taken, mites continue to reproduce in large numbers in the skin causing severe itching and sores.​​

It will take four to six weeks for symptoms to show on your skin and body after you come in contact with an infected person.  Each individual may witness different types of symptoms. The most common are 

  • Severe itching, getting worse during the night 

  • Tiny sores, irregular bumps and blisters over a rash; with thin burrow tracks 

  • Scales on skin (when advanced).

In infants and young children, symptoms appear on the:

  • Scalp

  • Face

  • Neck

  • Palms of the hands

  • Soles of the feet

In older women, the symptoms appear:

  • Between fingers

  • In armpits

  • Around your waist

  • Along the insides of wrists

  • On your inner elbow

  • On the soles of your feet

  • Around breasts

  • On buttocks

  • On knees

  • On shoulder blades

In older men, symptoms can be visible on all of the above areas along with around the male genital area

In patients who have suffered from scabies before, the symptoms will show within days. 

In patients who have not suffered from scabies before, the symptoms will take from four to six weeks to show. It is important to know that you are very likely to transfer the infection within days after you’ve been infected and even when the symptoms do not show at all.

For a preliminary examination you can visit a doctor at the Family Health Services. You can also consult the doctors at the Internal Medicine Services​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you experience any of the above symptoms. The initial symptoms are very much like other skin conditions like eczema​ and dermatitis but the doctor will help you identify the infection through a thorough check-up. Scabies cannot be eliminating by bathing with hot water (contrary to common belief) or over-the-counter medicines/ ointments.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

In diagnosing scabies, your doctor will closely examine your skin to identify signs of mites and burrows. To be sure, the dry scales of your skin will be extracted while you scrape and examined under the microscope.

Treatment of scabies will be suggested after your doctor determines the degree of infestation, your age and gender of the patient, your level of tolerance and your overall health and medical condition. Special medicines will be given to reduce itching. It is important that you clean all your bedding, utensils, towels and other utilities while you’re seeking treatment. Your entire family should be treated along with you even if symptoms are not visible on their bodies.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.