Is It Scabbies or Scabies?

So, is it scabbies or scabies?  You may have seen it spelled both ways.  But the proper spelling is scabies with just one b.

Scabies is a disease common to humans.  It is caused by a microscopic mite known as sarcoptes scabiei.  This pest burrows underneath the skin, feeding on human flesh and laying its eggs.  The presence of this mite causes an allergic reaction which creates a lot of red bumps all over the body.  Many people think that these are scabbies bites.

It is very contagious, spreading wherever people live in close conditions.  It is especially likely to spread in day care centers and nursing homes.  Catching scabies doesn’t mean that you have poor hygiene.  It just means you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In order to treat it, most doctors recommend that the entire family be treated at once.  In fact, if a day care center is affected, they will recommend that all the families affected be treated at the same time.  Treatment is usually permethrin cream, although stronger creams are available if that does not work.  Natural treatment methods include sulfur powder, tea tree oil, and neem oil.  These must be applied more often in order to be affected.

Scabbies or scabies is more common than people think.  If you think you have it, take a look at the pictures of scabies here on this site.  Then visit your doctor to decide on the best treatment plan for you and for your family.

And don’t worry about misspelling the word as scabbies.  It brought you here, didn’t it?  🙂

Pictures of Scabies in Babies

Scabies and babies just don’t go together.  While they do rhyme, nothing is worse than having a baby miserable from an uncontrollable, itchy rash.  Also, some babies get very severe rashes due to their allergic reaction to the mite.  It can make a baby and his or her parents very, very unhappy.

Unfortunately, more and more babies are getting scabies now.  It spreads rapidly in day care centers, and babies are often affected, as they are held more and experience more personal contact than older children.  If one baby gets it, it’s now being recommended that the whole daycare center is treated.  So make sure you inform your daycare director if your child has it.   Here are some pictures of what scabies looks like in babies:

pictures of scabies babies


The above and below pictures are from the University of Iowa.

scabies babies


scabies baby


The above picture is from a clinic in Haiti.

What can parents do about scabies in children?  Well, the whole family needs to be treated at once.  Often, if an outbreak happens at a daycare center, the protocol is to have all the families treated, whether they have symptoms or not.  This is because it takes a few weeks for symptoms to develop after you’ve been infested.

For a baby, follow your doctor’s directions for dosing.  There are three common creams used to treat it, as well as a few natural treatment methods.  See the post on scabies cream for more details.  Remember that just because a treatment is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safer for babies.  Talk to your doctor first.

Remember that the itching is likely to continue for several weeks after the mite has been eradicated.  Your doctor may want to help the baby control this with some antihistamine medication or anti itch creams, especially if the child has been scratching.  Open scratches can easily become infected, which can lead to a more severe illness.

Scabies in babies is not fun at all.  But with the right treatment, you can go back to living a normal life in just a few weeks.


Scabies Cream – Does It Work?

Is scabies cream effective at getting rid of the mite?  There are actually five different types of cream you can try if you have a scabies infection.  Each one has its pros and cons, including how they work and what their side effects are.  Let’s take a look at them in detail.

Permethrin Cream

scabies creamThis type of cream is the most commonly prescribed scabies treatment.  5% permethrin cream is usually prescribed, although you can get lesser strengths at the store.  However, the stronger strength is needed to kill the mite.

Permethrin is an insecticide.  It contains a neurotoxin that kills the mite, but is not harmful to most mammals.  In clinical trials, it is not absorbed by human skin.  However, it is still a toxin that is lethal to fish as well as cats.  For this reason, some people prefer to try another method.

This scabies cream is usually applied two times over the course of seven days.  It is left on for 12 hours (usually overnight), then rinsed off.  It is effective at killing the mite, but the symptoms may continue for two to four weeks after the mite is eliminated.


This form of treatment is usually used for those who did not see results from permethrin.  Malathion is a more potent cream for scabies.  However, with this potency comes risks.

Malathion was used as a method for insect control until the 1990s, when they found it had serious side effects on humans, especially in children.  Some side effects include kidney failure, leukemia, birth defects, and even death.  See this page from the University of Florida to see a number of different studies examining claims of health effects.  While it is not supposed to absorb easily through the skin, it is very dangerous if ingested or inhaled.  This treatment should be avoided if at all possible, especially in children.


Lindane is another second round scabies cream.  It is also a stronger neurotoxin that is effective at killing insects.  It was outlawed from use as a pesticide in 2009. although it continues to be used in smaller doses in different medical treatments.  This also should be avoided, especially in children.

Warnings on the label include the risk of seizure and even death if overused.  The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports that lindane can cause liver and kidney damage, immune system damage, toxicity to the central nervous system, and even death.  It is also known to cause liver cancer in animals, and is classified as a potential carcinogen for humans as well.

Sulfur Cream

Sulfur is one of the oldest forms of scabies treatments.  Sulfur powder can be used to kill the mite in couches and beds, and the cream can be used to help eliminate it on humans.  However, it does take longer to work.  It also needs more applications, most of the time, several times a day.  Dermisil for scabies is probably the best known manufacturer of sulfur cream and other natural remedies.

Herbal Tinctures

There are several forms of herbal tinctures being sold as scabies cream.  However, these are not as effective as the above methods.  Tea tree oil, in particular, has been shown to not kill the mite.  It does relieve the itching, but it can burn the skin if used in too large of a dose.

Neem oil is more effective, but it also can burn the skin.  As a scabies cream, it should not be your first choice.