This film is part of Free


Burrows, baths and benzyl benzoate – advice is shared on how to understand and treat the scourge of scabies.

Government sponsored film 1943 36 mins


This production looks at suggested treatment for the growing number of scabies cases in wartime Britain. Detailed instructions including how best to apply medicinal emulsion ensure the viewer is left in no doubt how to treat themselves. Those of a squeamish disposition may not enjoy the microscopic images of the mites, even if the clarity of those images seems impressive for a 1940s film.

Produced by the Ministry of Information on behalf of the Ministry of Health this film addressed concerns that the number of scabies cases was affecting productivity and efficiency in factories and services. Advice such as using a watchmaker’s lens and needle to extract mites, baths and the application of benzyl benzoate emulsion, and treatment of the entire family are included and show the lengths that the government wished to reduce the impact of those tiny but damaging mites. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.