Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"How do scabies and pinworm differ?"

ZocdocAnswersHow do scabies and pinworm differ?


What's the difference between scabies and pinworm? Or is there a difference? I have this itchy infection that's showing up in rashy circles on my leg and I know I hav et oget rid of it - I' dlike to treat it myself, but I can't remember the details.


Scabies is an infestation of the skin by a small, microscopic mite. The physical presence of the mite, together with its eggs and waste materials, causes the body to generate an inflammatory reaction in the skin. This is extremely uncomfortable, producing an intense itching sensation. The mite tends to live in creased areas of the skin, such as between fingers, the groin, and near the waistband. Unfortunately, there is no certain home remedy for scabies. In addition to washing clothing and bedding very thoroughly in hot water to kill off any mites which might be there, it is usually necessary to apply a prescription cream or lotion to the skin to kill the mite. Your doctor can prescribe this for you. Pinworm is a very small roundworm (parasite) which lives in the rectum. Adult worms exit from the anus and lay their eggs on the skin surrounding the anus, usually at night. It is this activity of the adult worms that produces intense itching. Unlike scabies, there is usually not a rash and the itching is limited to the skin around the anus. In addition to avoiding contaminating the hands by scratching (you can pass the infection back to yourself by swallowing the eggs), a simple oral medication prescribed by your doctor can cure the infection.

Need more info?

See an internist today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.