Could it be scabies? Look on webmd.com for more info.
What is scabies?
Scabies is a very itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin. The most common form of scabies is called papular scabies. See an illustration of scabies.
What are common symptoms of scabies?
Scabies causes severe itching that is usually worse at night. Small children and older adults tend to have the most severe itching. Children typically have the most severe skin reactions to scabies.
It takes several weeks after first-time exposure to scabies mites for itching and skin sores to develop. After a reinfestation, however, the symptoms take only a few days to develop.1
How is scabies transmitted?
The barely visible scabies mites are typically spread by close contact with an infested person. It is also possible for scabies mites to spread via shared personal belongings, such as towels and linens.
Scabies can be spread during the entire time a person is infested, even during the weeks before symptoms appear. It commonly affects several family members during the same period of time.
How is scabies diagnosed?
Your health professional may be able to diagnose scabies based on your symptoms and those of people you have close contact with. If your skin condition is difficult to diagnose, your health professional can gently scrape some dry skin from the affected area and examine it for signs of mites under a microscope.
How is scabies treated?
Scabies does not go away on its own. A prescription treatment is necessary to cure scabies; the scabies mite is resistant to nonprescription-strength medications. Your health professional will likely prescribe a medicated topical cream. Depending on the medication, you may be advised to repeat the treatment a week later. For severe, difficult-to-treat scabies, an oral medication called ivermectin is available.
Some scabies medications are not safe for use by children, babies, pregnant or breast-feeding women, or the elderly. To avoid dangerous side effects, be sure to strictly follow your health professional's instructions for use; only repeat a treatment when clearly advised to do so. This is particularly important when using lindane (Kwell), which can cause neurological problems if misused.2
If you have scabies, you and any household members and close physical contacts must all be treated at once. This prevents the mites from being passed back and forth from person to person. Careful washing of clothes and bedding is also necessary.