What is scabies?

Scabies is a parasite, a small mite, that lives in the skin of humans. It sometimes digs under the skin, lays eggs and causes severe itching. Scabies only has humans as hosts, and dies within a few days outside the host at room temperature.

How widespread scabies is in society varies, and often comes in waves at decades intervals. Now in the last 1-2 years there has been a marked increase in scabies in society in Norway.

Scabies is transmitted by close skin contact between people, for example through sexual intercourse and is therefore also referred to as a sexually transmitted disease. It can also be transmitted by lying in the same bed or being close to each other. Less often, it is transmitted through objects such as blankets, towels, clothes and objects.

Typical symptoms of scabies are intense itching of the skin and rash on the body. Where on the body varies slightly with age, where it is often seen that in adults it is primarily between the fingers, wrists, abdomen, abdomen and inside thighs that itch and get a rash. Men like to have a rash on the penis. In children, it is often the scalp, face, palms and soles of the feet that are affected, while the elderly can get a slightly more diffuse rash on the entire upper body.

Itching is an allergic reaction to the mite, and it usually occurs 2-4 weeks after infection. Scabies causes a very intense itching, and you often scratch the rash. The itching worsens when you get hot, for example during exercise, during a hot shower or when you lie down under the duvet. The itching is typically most intense at night.

Symptomer ved skabb

  • Itch
  • Rash on the body, place varies from person to person by age
  • The itching worsens when you get hot, for example during exercise
  • The itching is typically most intense at night


If you have itching, rash or other changes on the skin, it is always a good idea to see a doctor. The doctor will ask you a number of questions to get closer to the diagnosis, this includes allergies and medications you may be taking. The doctor will then examine the rash, often looking at the whole body to get an idea of ​​how widespread it is. Most doctors have their own "skin microscope" where you can see details in the skin better, and sometimes you will then be able to see the typical times the scabies digs under the skin, and in some cases you can also find the living scabies under the skin. If the skin is very itchy and sore, it can be difficult to find these typical signs. Blood tests or rash samples are not required.


Scabies is treated with a cream that is applied to the entire body, from the jaw to the toes. It is important to follow the instructions carefully, and do not shower or wash your hands until 12 hours have elapsed. It is recommended that you repeat the treatment after 7 days for best effect. The itching usually lasts longer, and will last 2-4 weeks after the end of treatment. To relieve this, you can use allergy tablets and topical treatment on the skin with a steroid cream. All these preparations are prescribed by the doctor who examines you. In case of lack of effect after 2 rounds of cream, the doctor can assess whether there is a need for a tablet cure.

Partner and everyone in the household must be treated at the same time, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not then they may be infected but have not started itching yet. That way you avoid infecting each other back and forth.

Other measures that are important to take to get rid of the mite from the home are to wash clothes, bedding and towels at 60 ° C. Alternatively, you can store them in plastic bags without skin contact for at least 3 days at room temperature. You do not need to freeze them, room temperature is enough as scabies in surviving outside humans at room temperature. The same applies to mobile phones or other objects you have had frequent contact with - put them away for at least 3 days so that any scabies on the objects disappears.

How can Dr. Dropin help you

The doctors at Dr. Dropin have good experience with skin ailments and can help you find out if you have scabies or not, and give you the right treatment for your ailments. With us at Dr. Dropin, you get an hour a day and fast treatment without waiting time.

Author: Doctor Martine Hallin Henriksen
Last updated: May 29, 2020
Reading time: 2-3 minutes

Hvordan kan Dr.Dropin hjelpe deg

The dermatologists at Dr. Dropin have good experience and can help you find out if you have scabies or not, and give you the right treatment for your ailments. With us at Dr.Dropin, you get an hour a day and fast treatment without waiting time.

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FAQ on scabies

Is scabies dangerous?
No, scabies is not dangerous.

Do you become immune to scabies if you have had it once?
No, unfortunately not. Scabies is like lice, you can get it many times.

I have got scabies, smeared myself with cream twice but it still itches. What do I do now?
It often takes a few weeks after completing treatment before the itching calms down, sometimes up to 4 weeks. Contact a doctor so you can get some anti-itch remedies, if you still itch after trying this you may need a tablet treatment for scabies as well.

Do I have to wash sofas, car seats, chairs etc when someone in the family has been diagnosed with scabies?
Yes, scabies can survive for 6 days at normal room temperature, longer if it is colder and high humidity. Furniture such as fabric sofas can be covered with plastic for 7 days or avoided use. The same applies to e.g. phone cover.


Andersen K.E., Lomholt H.B., Thestrup-Pedersen K., Wulf H.C., (2018), Infeksjoner i huden, i Klinisk dermatologi og venerologi. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, s 145-146

eMetodebok, (2020), Infeksjoner, (online), tilgjengelig fra:, hentet 29.05.2020

Norsk Elektronisk Legehåndbok, (2020), Skabb, (online), tilgjengelig fra:, hentet 29.05.2020