These are tiny mites that burrow into the skin and lay eggs. The infection is spread by close physical contact or bedding which the mites can live in for 1-2 days.

Time between exposure and illness (incubation period): 2-4 weeks (or 1-2 days in those who have previously been infected).

Later red lumps may appear on the limbs and trunk.

Signs and symptoms

  • Severe itchiness for days or weeks, particularly at night or after a hot bath.
  • This is usually in the warm parts of the body like armpits, genitals, and between fingers and toes.
  • It starts with a small red line or track mark.
  • Later red lumps may appear on the limbs and trunk. Scratching may cause infection, resulting in red pus-filled sores like impetigo.
Young father playing with his daughter inside with toys

At home:

  • See your pharmacist for a lotion or cream which is applied to the skin and left on for 12-24 hours.
  • Wash clothing and bed linen in hot water.
  • Check other family members regularly for signs.

Notify your school or day care centre. Generally your child is no longer infectious after 24 hours of treatment, but in some cases a further treatment is necessary in 2 weeks time.

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