Can I Get Scabies by Shaking Hands with Infested Person?

Scabies is one of the severe dermatologic conditions that can cause itching and rashes. It is highly contagious condition that’s estimated to affect over 300 million people worldwide from all age groups and socioeconomic status annually and is easily spread due to close physical contact. This skin condition is caused by the sarcoptes scabiei mite, an eight-legged microscopic bug.

Causes of scabies

The sarcoptes scabiei mite, also known as the human itch mite, is the sole reason for this contagious skin condition. After burrowing under the skin, the female mite lays its eggs in the track. Once the eggs hatch, the mites mature within weeks on the surface of the skin. It further leads to infestation on different body parts and also spreads to other people during close physical contact.

Commonly, people in extended care facilities such as nursing homes and prisons are at risk of contracting scabies. The disease is highly contagious and spread via direct skin-to-skin contact or by using a towel, bedding or furniture infested with the mites. Risk for contracting scabies infection is usually higher in children, mothers of young children, sexually active young adults, residents of extended care facilities, elderly and even those who have undergone an organ transplant.

Not only humans, but dogs and cats also get affected by mites. However, each species has different mite species. While a full-blown human infection with animal mites is rare, the most common symptom experienced is a temporary skin reaction.

Can I get scabies by shaking hands with infested person?

Well, scabies is highly contagious skin infection, but diagnosis of an acquaintance does not automatically mean your patient will contract the disease. Plus, infection is spread with prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Scabies is often transmitted sexually but usually only in cases where skin-to-skin contact is lengthy (e.g., sharing same bed, towel, etc.), not from brief encounters.

So, a person cannot easily acquire the mites by shaking hands or from touching inanimate objects. Otherwise, everyone would have scabies around us. When scabies is diagnosed, a detailed history of personal contacts is acquired to find out the root cause of infection from where you got infected.


If the person is infected for the first time, it can take nearly 2 to 6 weeks for symptoms to develop. But the timeframe significantly shortens up to 1- 4 days. Here are some common signs and symptoms of scabies:

Itching: It is one of the most common symptoms of scabies. Severe and intense itching occurs, which often become worse at night.

Rash: When mite burrows into the skin, it forms burrow tracks or lines that can be clearly seen around skin folds. These burrows resemble hives, bites, knots, pimples or patches of scaly skin.

Sores: If the infested areas are scratched and rubbed roughly, it will lead to the development of reddish sores.

Thick crusts: Crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies, is a form of severe scabies in which hundreds to thousands of mites grow within skin crusts, causing severe skin symptoms. Most often, those affected with crusted scabies, exhibit widespread, gray, thick, crumbling crusts.


First line of treatment

Get yourself treated at earliest, the first line of treatment implies that all mites have been killed and are not around to spread on to other hosts.

The Second Line of Treatment

In this second line of defense, the mites that might have hatched during the course of the first treatment are killed. The gap between the two treatments is usually a week. It is necessary to protect other people from the infection, so during your treatment maintain a safe distance from your family members.

Medicines: Piriton, Crotamiton cream or lotion and Hydrocortisone cream are usually prescribed by physicians. Before applying any of these creams or lotions do consult your doctor.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *