Scabies is an itchy rash that is caused by tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei.
These mites burrow into and lay egg under the skin. It is a common rash that spread fast through skin-to-skin contact. If your baby has been scratching his skin especially in the night then it might be scabies!
In the beginning, you can easily overlook the presence of scabies because it looks similar to the other types of rashes. One of the distinct and unmistakable sign is that of continuous itching and trails of burrows on the skin where the female mite lays her egg.
The burrow trails are usually greyish to white colour. Mites often prefer the head, neck, face, palms, and soles of the feet to lay its egg. Scabies in children does not manifest fast. It takes about a month to six weeks for the skin to react to the infection. Scabies does not happen because your child or home is dirty.
Symptoms of Scabies in Kids
- Unrelenting itching especially at night or after a hot bath
- A pimple like rashes
- Scales or blisters
- Sores (due to scratching)
Ways of Contracting Scabies
Scabies mites can live up to two to three days on the surface of clothes, bedding, or towels. Scabies can easily spread fast at crowded places, day care centres where mites can easily crawl from one person to the other which could be from a caregiver or from infant to infants.
If an infected child shares beddings, play mats or towels and other clothing items it can escalate the outbreak. It is easy to catch it from an infected family member too.
Kids cannot contract scabies from pets because the mites that infect them is different from the one that infect humans.
Treatment of Scabies
If you confirmed that your baby has scabies and he attends a daycare then you have to notify the caregivers so they can contain the spread and get appropriate treatment for themselves and other babies even if they are not showing any signs of infection. Scabies is an infection that you cannot wave aside and wait it out, it needs to be treated with medications from the doctor to kill the mites.
Your child will have to stay at home until treatment is completed. Your doctor will likely prescribe a lotion or cream (usually 5% permethrin cream) to put on your baby’s skin.
Give your child a lukewarm bath or shower and dry her skin gently before you apply the cream all over the body. You can reapply on the hand if the child washes it off. Leave the cream on for 8-12 hours. If your child has scabies, then the whole family should be treated at the same time.
Wash all clothing, linen, towels and soft toys, using the hottest setting possible to destroy the mites and its eggs. Vacuum all carpets and mattresses. For the things you can’t wash, spray them with insecticide and leave them closed in a plastic bag for up to a week to avoid reinfection.
If the itching continues for more than four weeks or a new rash appears, go see your doctor. Do not reapply the lotion or cream unless your doctor recommended it.