How long can a scabies mite live without a human host?
Scabies mites can only live about 72 hours without human contact, but once on a person, the mites can live up to two months. Mites survive longer in colder conditions with higher humidity. Once on a person, mites can burrow into the skin, and symptoms usually begin three to six weeks after infestation.
This mite can travel from the infected person to another person. Most people get scabies from direct, skin-to-skin contact. Less often, people pick up mites from infested items such as bedding, clothes, and furniture. The mite can survive for about 3 to 4 days without being on a human.
- Scabies is prevented by avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with an infested person or with items such as clothing or bedding used by an infested person. Scabies treatment usually is recommended for members of the same household, particularly for those who have had prolonged skin-to-skin contact.
- The eggs hatch and become adult mites within 10 days. Symptoms, primarily itching, appear approximately four weeks from the time of contact as a result of sensitization to the presence of immature mites. A person with scabies is considered infectious as long as they have not been treated.
- Medications commonly prescribed for scabies include: Permethrin cream, 5 percent (Elimite). Permethrin is a topical cream that contains chemicals that kill scabies mites and their eggs. It is generally considered safe for adults, pregnant women, and children ages 2 months and older.
Updated: 3rd December 2019