DESCRIPTIONScabies is a disease of the skin caused by a mite (the "itch" mite) with a characteristic pattern of distribution. Scabies is contagious from person to person (by shared clothing or bed linen) and from one site to another in the same person. The skin of the finger webs and the folds under the arms, breasts, elbows, genitals, and buttocks are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSmall, itchy blisters in several parts of your child's body. The blisters break easily when scratched.
Broken blisters leave scratch marks and thickened skin, crisscrossed by grooves and scaling.
A mite that burrows into deep skin layers, where the female mite deposits eggs. Eggs mature into adult mites in 3 weeks. Mites are 0.1mm in diameter and can be seen only under a microscope. Scratching collects mites and eggs under the fingernails, so they spread to other parts of the child's body.
Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your child should avoid contact with persons or linen and clothing that may have been infected with scabies.
Your child should maintain personal cleanliness by doing the following:
-- Bathing daily, or at least 2 to 3 times a week.
-- Washing hands before eating.
-- Laundering clothes often.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. The diagnosis is confirmed by discovering the mite, lifting it from its burrow, and identifying it under a microscope.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSecondary bacterial infection of mite-infested areas of inflammation.
PROBABLE OUTCOMEItching usually disappears quickly, and evidence of your child's disease is gone in 1 to 2 weeks with treatment.
In 20% of cases, re-treatment is necessary in 20 days. If your child's skin irritation persists longer than this, oral antihistamines or topical steroids may be necessary to break the itch-scratch cycle.
Scabies may last for years if left untreated. This accounts for the term "seven-year itch."
Bathe the child thoroughly before applying the prescribed medicine.
Apply from the neck down, and cover the child's entire body.
Wait 15 minutes before letting the child get dressed.
Carefully wash all clothes and toys used prior to or during treatment. You don't need to clean furniture or floors with special care.
Leave medicine on the child's skin for 2 hours before bathing.
Keep the child's fingernails short.
You may need to repeat the treatment in 1 week. Ask your doctor.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe a pediculicide, such as gamma benzene hexachloride or crotamiton cream.
Infants and pregnant females may need a pediculicide that is less toxic, such as a 6% solution of sulfur.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, after treatment.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of scabies.
After treatment, the lesions show signs of infection (redness, pus, swelling, or pain).
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.