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Frequently asked questions about scabies

Are you dirty if you have scabies?

No, you can be very clean and still get scabies.

Is scabies a sexually transmitted disease (STI)?

No, scabies is not an STI. However, you can get scabies by having sex with someone. This can happen because you are having skin-to-skin contact. You can also get scabies if you are in the same bed together.

Can scabies also pass through clothes?

No, it can't. However, the scabies mite can be on fabrics. For example, on a couch or clothing. The scabies mite can get on a couch when someone with scabies sits on it with bare skin. If you then sit on the couch with your bare skin, you can also become infected. You can also become infected if you put on clothing from someone who has scabies. For example, when you change sports shirts.

Can I get scabies from my pet?

Scabies is a skin mite. A pet can suffer from skin mites, but the skin mite in an animal is not the same as the scabies mite of humans. A scabies mite found in humans cannot survive on an animal. If someone has scabies and pets an animal, the mange mite can, however, temporarily sit on the fur. If someone else then pets the animal, they can become infected. Scabies mites from a human can survive on an animal for up to 3 days.

Can scabies mites be found in shoes?

Scabies mites can be found on textile or fabric. So, sneakers or other shoes made of textile or fabric can have mites on or in them. Set those shoes aside for the first three days of treatment. Wear such shoes with socks. This is not necessary for your leather shoes.

How long can a scabies mite survive?

A scabies mite can live for 3 days outside a human body.

Who should be treated if I have scabies?

You, your roommates and your close contacts should be treated. Everyone should do the whole treatment 2 times.

I live in a student house, do all my housemates need to be treated?

In most cases treatment is necessary for all housemates.

Can I go to work if I am infected with scabies?

In most cases you can go to work. However, if you work in health care or work with children you should check with your company doctor.

Do scabies go away on its own?

No, scabies do not go away on its own. Scabies must be treated with cream of tablets in combination with the step-by-step plan. Your family doctor can prescribe a prescription for this cream of tablets.

Just using cream or tablets is not enough to get rid of scabies, make sure you follow all the steps of the step-by-step guide. For example, you should also:

  • Wash your clothes, towels and bedding
  • Put your shoes in a sealed plastic bag for 3 days

What you need to do exactly is explained here: https://www.rivm.nl/en/scabies/treating-scabies

Scabies treatment is a lot of work. Plan what to do before you start.

What is often forgotten?

People often forget to wash or bag the following items:

  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers and shoes
  • Hats, scarves, and earmuffs
  • Fabric shoes
  • Work clothes
  • Fabric covers on phones, laptops or tablets
  • Second-hand clothing
  • Fabric backpacks worn on bare skin in summer
  • Re-applying cream to the pubic area and hands after going to the toilet.
Does scabies treatment cost money?

The cost of scabies treatment comes out of your own risk/ excess.  If you have not used up your excess yet, then you will pay for the medication yourself. If you have used up your excess, your insurance will pay for the medication.