Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by a tiny parasite, the scabies mite. One of the most common symptoms of scabies is itching. Treatment of scabies consists of using a cream or taking tablets, and taking hygiene measures at home. Scabies mainly occurs in young adults up to 25 years old.
This is what can you do yourself
Are you feeling itchy and do you have reason to think it may be scabies? Schedule an appointment with your GP. Are you a student and not registered with a GP in Amsterdam? Go to huisartsenamsterdam.nl
One of the most common symptoms of scabies is itching, particularly at night. Your skin may also develop tiny burrows, blisters and red bumps. Particularly between your fingers and on your wrists and feet.
The first time you get scabies, it takes two to six weeks for the itching to start. With subsequent infections, the itching starts after just a few days.
Anyone can get scabies. You can become infected through skin-to-skin contact (more than 15 minutes) with someone who has scabies or by sharing bedding or clothing. This is how you can reduce the risk of becoming infected:
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected. For example, do not sit too closely next to someone on the couch, and avoid cuddling, sharing a bed with someone and wearing someone else’s clothes.
If you think you have scabies
- Scabies does not go away by itself. Visit your GP if you have symptoms consistent with scabies.
- The treatment of scabies can be successful following an accurate diagnosis and by treating you, your housemates and close contacts at the same time.
If you have scabies
- The treatment consists of a cream or tablets prescribed to you by a GP or dermatologist. You may feel itchy for a long time. This will slowly disappear, but can last up to six weeks. Take it easy and give the itchiness the time to disappear.
- Notify your housemates and anyone else with whom you have been in close contact (for longer than 15 minutes). Everyone in your immediate vicinity needs to get treated at the same time, even if they do not have any symptoms.
- Wash all clothing and bedding at 60 degrees. Or put clothing and bedding in a sealed plastic bag for at least 72 hours. The mite will die after 72 hours without human contact.
- Use the step-by-step plan on how to deal with scabies. You can download the plan at the bottom of this page.
This is what the the Municipal Health Service GGD does
We help patients who do not seem to respond to treatment or who continue to become reinfected with scabies.
Scabies consulting hour for students
You can make an appointment with the Municipal Health Service if the following applies to you:
- you are a student or live in student accommodations, and
- you live in the Municipal Health Service area Amsterdam-Amstelland, and
- you have had an appointment with your GP, and
- you currently have new spots or the itchiness is becoming worse again, four or more weeks after your last treatment
It is very difficult to treat everyone in student accommodations at the same time, mainly because all housemates need to see their own GP for medication.
Students in Amsterdam who have already seen their own GP and have been diagnosed with scabies can go to the GGD Amsterdam Public Health Service for information and advice on treatment and on how to implement hygiene measures.
- We will perform testing and contact tracing.
- We will provide support in warning people who may be at risk of contracting scabies and ensure that they will be treated as well.
- Where necessary, we will first schedule an appointment during our weekly scabies consulting hour to see if someone’s symptoms are consistent with scabies.
For advice on scabies please call the General Infectious Diseases team at GGD Amsterdam Public Health Service at: 020 555 5337 We are available from Monday to Friday between 8.30 and 17.00 h.
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM): Scabies