5 Early Signs & First Symptoms of a Scabies Infestation

So you think you might have scabies, huh? For your sake, i hope you are wrong!

But, it’s good that you are here investigating.

Because if you do in fact have scabies it is important that you detect it and treat it as fast as possible. Yes, ASAP! The longer it goes untreated the worse you will feel and the more likely you’ll be to spread it to other people.

Below you will find first indicators that the scabies mites could be present.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

Sign #1: An uncontrollable itchy feeling that’s spreading

You might think you had a good idea what feeling super itchy was like before ever picking up scabies.

But after awhile, there’s no way to lie to yourself any longer.

The itchy feeling we get as sufferers from these mites is horrendous.

A few telltale signs of an early stage scabies infestation:

  • You have a spot or two, maybe a broad area of your body, that will not stop feeling itchy no matter how hard or how often you scratch it. Yes, it doesn’t matter if you spent all night digging your fingernails into your skin. It just won’t. Go. Away.
  • While the itching doesn’t go away completely, if you feel way more itchy at night, then that’s a telltale sign. During the day you are active and distracted. Because of the activity, the mites don’t move as much. And even if they do, you won’t notice them as much. But at night time, that’s when they’re the most active. If it’s terribly itchy and keeping you up at night, it’s probably scabies.
  • It is spreading. For me, it started around my crotch and between my thighs. I thought it was just an allergic reaction or something. Maybe from the clothes i tried on at the mall. But then, it just kept spreading, in all of it’s terribleness, all over my body (accept my face and scalp.) By a few weeks into it, I was consumed in itchiness all over. Don’t wait that long before getting treated.

Sign #2: Rashes. Bumps. Zigzag marks. Oh No!

At first, you were just itchy. Incredibly, excruciatingly and uncomfortably itchy. But just itchy nonetheless.

Then, while you were indulgently digging into your thighs with your nails, you noticed something.

Red bumps? Red lines?

No, not just the redness from your far too intense scratching. A different kind. Like something you unearthed that was there all along beneath your skin.

My friend, this is their marks.

  • Those bumps. Those are their little homes, where they lay their little eggs.
  • Those lines. They are their burrows, where they dig and dig too move around and find greener pastures, ahem – tasty dead skin – to feed on.

If you’ve started to see red marks appear and you are still hesitant to diagnose them as scabies, take a look at where they’re located.

In the beginning those raised little bumps and ridges are likely to appear on parts of your body where the skin folds over itself or touches itself on creases.

Think between your legs, your toes and your fingers. Inside your elbows and wrists. Genital areas and under your breasts, if you’ve any.

Scabies prefer these areas to breed in and call home.

Sign #3: “Wait, am I not the only one around who’s scratching themselves?”

Since you’ve been paying so much attention to your itchy body, you maybe haven’t spent much time looking around at your friends and family.

Or if you have been looking at them, it’s in fear that they might see you acting odd with all your fidgety, itchy maladies.

But take a closer look.

If you do have scabies, they didn’t fall out of the sky.

Someone gave them to you. And chances are that it could be someone close to you. And they are probably showing first signs of an infestation as well.

So take a look around.

Look at your family, at your co-workers, your friends; anyone who comes in close contact with you from day to day.

Are they mindlessly digging into their skin? Are they complaining of a strange itch? Are they expressing lost sleep due to staying up all night scratching? Are they meticulously peering at their skin?

Are they showing early symptoms?

If you encounter others with these symptoms, well, take that as an early sign.

Better yet though, ask them. And tell them what you know about scabies and the early signs we’ve discussed already.

It’s easier to keep quiet and avoid potentially embarrassing subject matter, but if it’s really an infestation happening around you, everyone needs to know.

Everyone needs to get treated or they will likely just re-infest one another.

Sign #4: In the past few months have those in your family traveled or frequented new places?

This isn’t something that can give you insurmountable evidence of an infestation, but it’s a thought provoking question which could give you clues and a stronger conviction that it is in fact scabies that’s bothering you.

Think of all the places you’ve gone lately.

Out of country trips? Out of state trips? Out of home Trips?

All of them.

New gym membership? New daycare for the kids? New animal care clinic? New doctors office visits?

These are all heavily trafficked areas that are often hosts to scabies. For more ideas of places that you might have picked up mites from, check out this post on our How do you get Scabies page.

If there’s one or many potential places that pop into your mind, do some investigating and see if there’s been known issues with scabies there.

Sign #5: There’s confirmed cases of scabies in your community

So we’ve examined quite a few early signs of a scabies infestation.

If you’re still reading then you probably have a good hunch that this is what’s been ailing you.

At this point, if your still worried that it might be all in your head, it’s a good idea to visit or, better yet, make some phone calls to places in your community that you’ve visited in the last 2 or 3 months.

You’re gym maybe, or your child’s daycare.

Just call and ask if there’s been any reported cases of scabies recently.

If they say yes, well, that’s probably a clear sign that your itchy scratchy nights as of late are a sign that you’ve recently picked up our dreaded friends the scabies mite. You’re early symptoms will surely turn into a full blown unbearable infestation if you don’t act soon.

For more information on treating scabies, check out some of our other posts below.

And best of luck to you.

Further Reading: 100 Tips for Scabies Treatment

Further Reading: A Simple 3 Step Guide to Treating Scabies

Further Reading: How to Buy Over The Counter Permethrin Cream Online

Further Reading: A Guidebook to Handling the Itch

5 Early Signs & First Symptoms of a Scabies Infestation by


  1. Hi
    Is there any way to not get scabies while travelling? Any help will be appreciated.

    • You can try using 10% sulfur soap. Wash down as normal, then turn off water lather up your body from neck/chin down to your feet with the Sulfur Soap, wait two minutes for the soap to start drying, then gently pat dry. You will then have a thin layer of sulfur to help protect you. I’ve just started seeing one Sulfur Soap company advertise their soap for travel as a precaution. I don’t know how if their claim is correct in that they say new (to you) scabies take around a day and a half to dig in?!. Where as established scabies burry much more quickly into the skin.

  2. Hey,

    I’m based in the UK. My housemate got scabies last year and so I was treated at the same time as him to ensure that we didn’t keep spreading it (I actually had no signs but he had proper bites and tracks all over his arms.)
    We were given the permethrin cream, used twice, then had a few weeks of tea tree oiling our pillows/washing regularly and it seemed to go away! (We must have been the lucky ones… )

    I moved back to London 3 weeks ago and a few nights after being back in the city I helped out a homeless man who needed to get to a shelter before it closed. I wasn’t really thinking and took his blanket and held his arm as we walked as he wasn’t very stable on his feet. The next day I remember itching on my arms but I thought it unlikely to be scabies as I didn’t think it would show so soon…

    Then in the last few weeks I have found myself becoming more and more itchy.
    Having no physical signs and assuming it could be a number of things in my new environment affecting it, I went to a walk in dr last week here.
    I told him about the homeless person and said about my fear of scabies to which he pretty much snorted and even took my hand ( he didn’t have gloves!) and said I would know! He gave me a steroid cream and advised antihistamines.
    He told me that if the steroid cream didn’t work to buy the scabies cream afterwards. Which to me just seemed like a cop out! My skin is already in hell and the idea of two lots of chemicals in quick succession did not appeal…

    A week later, no amount of anti histamines or steroid cream had made a difference. I washed all my sheets, cleaned my windows of mould, cleaned the washing machine of mould, switched to non-bio, stopped using all fragranced soaps but the nagging suspicion has always been that I may have scabies.

    The temperature has recently soared here in London too so it has become unbearable at work. I still have no signs that look anything like scabies online, but instead have groups of raised tiny bumps (pores that look infected) in very sparse places. It looks more like dermatitis but now I have started to come to terms with the itching all over to be a big give away that this may be scabies. Until yesterday I was kidding myself with the fact that as my face/neck was itching this meant that it couldn’t be scabies but have since found sites such as this which confirm that this too is a myth and you can get them everywhere!

    If anyone has any further details, I’m seeing a DR tomorrow morning but I do feel there is very little knowledge here. I’m loathed to use anything in the case that I don’t have scabies, however anxious that in not doing so could just be putting it off for longer so will most likely suck it up and buy the cream they sell here OTC for my whole household & will follow the cleaning instructions as best I can.

    I found this online which seems worth sharing as it’s a Doctor talking about some general myths on the subject!


    I hope everyone gets there soon with their own struggles! One thing I will say is I wish I had just listened to my instincts 2 weeks ago and bought the cream as if I had I may have been able to deal with the problem before being at risk of having shared it. Now I’m so many weeks down the line of denial and it is a problem that has most likely (and very literally) multiplied…

    I know it’s depressing but in the grand scheme of things you just have to keep reminding yourself that there is a way out and be grateful that wonderful people like the creator of this site has been kind enough to share their tips/misery to help us other depressed folks not feel alone and know that there is a light!


    • Hey, I have had a very similar experience as you have, as after a first infestation years back it took me only sitting next to an potentially positive person to get all the symptoms of scabies again. It was less than a week ago, and the strange thing is that it doesn’t activate at night necessarily, but sometimes in the day or evening. So not being sure, I am still using natural treatment… Did your Dr confirm it was scabies ?

      • Hi Manu.

        Agreed, it’s not just night time that you can feel itchy. I felt it all day long with my infestation. Night time is just more noticeable for most people.

        My doctor claimed I did not have scabies. He didn’t even seem to consider it actually, even with my mentions of it. He believed it was eczema or psoriasis. I knew for sure that it was scabies when other close friends had doctors visits that confirmed scabies.

        I recommend against using a purely natural form of treatment. For most ailments I am a huge proponent of home remedy style treatment but these bugs are notoriously difficult to treat and permethrin / ivermectin treatments were what ended my infestation in the end.

        • I have all the symptoms that your describing the only problem is that I think all the apartment around me have them and I don’t have money or help I don’t have insurance or anything I don’t know what else to do

          • Buy dog dip (generally 17%) and dilute it down to a five percent solution. Then treat yourself from the neck down completely and leave on overnight before showering off. Wash the sheets daily and vacuum everywhere! Repeat the treatment 4 to 5 days later. You will still itch for a couple weeks but it should feel less intense. If not, treat a third time. It took three for me. Worst thing I have ever gone thru physically. Messes with your head.

  3. It seems to be very catchy, and everyone in the household must be treated. It takes up to 6 days to get rid of it.

  4. I got the Durvet Ivermectin paste 1/87%. It says that this is enough for a 1250 pound horse. I weight about 130 pounds. 1250/130=9.6. So basically I need to take 1/9th? The container is .21 oz. So I need to take .023 oz? My food scale can’t go that low. So do I measure 0ut 9 even lines on the syringe dispenser and take that small amount?

  5. Thanks for this site – I am not selling a thing, only trying to enlighten and hoping to find someone else that has had a problem with WIGS and scabies. . . WIGS manufactured by Aderans Hair Products – Hair Club For Men –
    LUX HAIR NOW WIGS for Sherrie Shepherd or any other of Aderans products purchased from QVC or elsewhere!

    Perhaps I can jog someone’s memory that thinks they got their scabies somewhere else, thinking that they couldn’t have gotten them from THIS on-line shopping channel and/or these products!

    In my opinion, I damn sure did!
    The entire story is here. . .

    I surely can not be an isolated case!

    Scabies Suck! Anyone else out there having this same issue?

    Thanks for your time! FM

  6. I’m desperate. Have you done any research on the treatment they use for bedbugs where they heat up your house to 140 degrees for a few hours? Any idea if that would kill scabes?

  7. Duck pond says:

    My entire body is covered in unbearably itchy red spots – started a year ago when I was in hospital

  8. Samuel Kemson says:

    Admin Ave got a skin disease but I don’t know if it is scabies,it does itch when am less busy as in maybe am having 1-2hr rest at this time it itches me severely and also at nights…this disease. has affected me since 2008 and am still battling with it,my normal skin has turn something else,it has even reduce the hair growing on my skin,the affected at areas Is from my buttocks to my ankle,my back and my arms. I used to be chocolate in color but now now I can’t even tell u my complexion.

  9. I started this new dsw job an every since I’ve sat on this this sofa I’ve been feeling itchy on my ankles lower back I’m scared don’t wanna bring this back to my house

  10. Elina Martin says:

    Bites: Since the symptoms are a result of an allergic reaction, it is not surprising that the rash caused by scabies is similar to that produced by poison ivy. The bites will be pink, raised bumps that resemble blisters and have a clear top that may be filled with fluid. The bites sometimes appear in a row formation and are exceptionally itchy, especially at night.
    Burrow tracks: As the mites burrow and lay their eggs, thin tracks can sometimes be seen in the skin. These irregular tracks will be raised and about as thin as the lead from a mechanical pencil. Unfortunately, track marks only appear in around 25% of all scabies cases. This is regrettable, since the track marks plus bites are a handy way of recognizing the condition.

    Crusts: It is rare, but the elderly or those with weakened immune systems can develop what is known as “crusted scabies”. This when the mites are able to spread over the body with gusto. Although crusted scabies does not itch as much, it can result in scaly rashes and thick crusts of skin over the entire body as the mites revel in the abundant, fertile ground.

  11. unknown says:

    so i went to the doc about some bumps that came up on my penis after unprotected sex and she said i have scabies but i dont itch any at all just still have these bumps on there is it really scabies?

  12. I cleaned out some old papers in a filing cabinet….20 years old…within 4 days was itching. At first I thought I had a yeast infection. But later realized the itch was spreading to hand webs and elbow …then behind my knees and then knee caps. It has spread so fast. I’ve been to the doctor…got the cream by the 4th day. Washed everything…but these things are still purging from by body daily. And my skin is flared…swollen….and I am reacting to the excrement the scabies left behind. I’m using lotrimin…it is working. I continue my treatment the elimite, kleen free, selsen blue medicated sulfer shampoo and tea tree oil. We had scabies 9 years ago from a friend’s pet…but I just don’t remember it being that bad. It was bad…I mean…but not as itchy as now. We are hiring a professional to treat our home this time. Bagging and washing everything is punishment enough along with multiple baths and picking these things off our body one by one as they die and our body purges them (mostly hands and arms). I can’t worry about spraying too. It is just too much. It is consuming my whole life.

  13. If it doesn’t spread is it Scabbies? My son has had a rash on his bottom for months I rarely see him scratch it yet he is very active! My daughter doesn’t have a rash we don’t have a rash just him. When I look at pics on Google the closest thing that looks like is on his bottom is the mites… But it doesn’t go around his thighs only stays rite there on his butt. I’ve tried everything I could find to put on it and it won’t go away! I have a doc apt set up but it’s not for another week. I would have had him seen sooner but the stupid doctors office said they wouldn’t be taking new patients for a hole 3 months ugh can someone please help me!

    • Try using Monistat on the rash. My 10-month-old little girl had a rash on her bottom which ended up being a yeast infection,that looked very angry and i use the cream Monistat for itching. it cleared it up instantly it won’t hurt anything if it doesn’t work.

    • Have you tried cream to treat a yeast infection?

  14. Have anyone else heard of MORGELLONS? Most of these symptoms are characteristics of morgellons especially the failure to get a diagnosis or the treatment given not seeming to work? Don’t expect much help or to be taken seriously asking the doctor about it though, big cover up going on and it involves chemtrails and genetic engineering, insect genes being implanted via vaccinations and all that stuff they don’t want you to believe is taking place! Research Morgellons and see for yourself.. But be warned, it is not for the squeemish!

  15. I think my household has scabies, 3 week’s ago one of my kids (adult) her baby and boyfriend moved in after finding themselves suddenly homeless and all had a rashes from neck to toes that itches furiously. At first I thought it was from there laundry being washed in mean green degreaser but after a week of it not getting better when everything had been rewashed a few times I realized something was amiss and to the doctor they went. Upon their return we were informed that she had a highly contagious bug called scabies(She was given pills for that), her baby has skin allergy symptoms though not scabies (She has the worst rash) and her boyfriend was not seen by a doctor. I turned to the internet to find out what this scabies was that the 9 other people in the home have been exposed to and how contagious it was. Was freaked out that the CDC information was the first page of sites and learned about scabies then called the doctor immediately seeking help and advice which turned out to be aggravating to say the least, we will not be given treatment until there symptoms and proof of scabies(2-4 weeks after infection). This poor miserable 10 month old baby will not be given treatment because she has a skin allergy. If you tell more than six doctors they are being ridiculously idiotic and irresponsible to the community all the doctors in town will be unavailable for 3 months. I will not have money to buy medicine for a month and two of the people in the home cannot take the pills or cream. I already use several of the recommend essential oils around the home and on myself as it is and as much as I love my homeopathic way of life I know it has limitations and risks. It has been 3 week’s and I am highly exposed daily caring for this little one, while doing their laundry ect. I also care for my 2 small grandchildren, my elderly father and do the housekeeping that includes all laundry. I have no symptoms (yet) neither does anyone else so far but I worry that I am spreading the mites to everyone while hoping that I am keeping them contained. I just don’t know what else to do and find myself wondering if it’s possible to be unappealing to the bugs or perhaps preventing them from infecting the rest of us while they are still infected.

    • It has now been 7 week’s and I have no symptoms though I am pretty sure I have to be infected since all the children I care for have the symptoms and of all the doctors that have been seen only one would prescribe anything and the darn insurance company won’t cover it but had the pharmacist switch it for nix lice creme rinse with instructions to apply at bedtime. The doctors can’t or won’t help get the children treated but they are giving the adults ivermecton pills like they are candy Except to me because I have no symptoms.

      • Not necessarily. I had a vicious case and slept in the same bed as my husband. He never got a single bump. I did make him do a treatment at the end just to be safe but they just did not bother with him

  16. Great article to see early signs of scabies

  17. I had scabies and i got it again… But i think i almost got rid of them. It doesnt itch at night but today i noticed that my leg iches i looked at it i see nothing then it stoped itching and i think litle pimple like bump apeared but i can almost see it its not red or anything but just one little bump there…

  18. Once I went into a public jaquzzi at my apartment complex after that I got itchy read bumps all over almost looked like little pimples… It took me 3 different doctor visits to find out what it was and it turned out to be excuse my spelling but faliculitis if that’s spelt right. They have me medicine and it cleared but it was so hard to get correctly diagnosed. Hope that might help.

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