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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Scabies in children

Scabies in children

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Scabies is skin condition which cause intense itching and rashes. It is caused by an infestation with Sarcoptes scabei parasitic mite. The mite causes burrows in the skin. The presence of mite leads to intense itching in the area it burrows. The itching is more in night.


Scabies is contagious and spreads through close physical contact in family, child care group, school. The sharing of clothes or bedding with infected person can spread the mites.


Norwegian or crusted scabies is severe form of scabies seen in immune compromised individuals like in HIV.

Symptoms of scabies:

  • Red bumps, nodules or pimple like lesions with irritation mainly in the webbing between child’s fingers, in the inner part of the wrist, under arms, elbows, knees and along belt line.
  • Short zig zag or s shaped lines or burrows.
  • Sores due to secondary bacterial infections.
  • Intense itching especially at night.
  • Common sites of infection are scalp, face, neck, palms of hands, soles of feet.

Diagnosis:

  • Examination of skin scrapings taken by placing a drop of mineral oil on a burrow. The scrap pings are seen under microscope for the mite or eggs of mites.
  • Ink test: It involves placing of ink on the burrow and wiping it. If you see the ink remaining down inside the burrow.

Treatment of scabies:

It involves application of 5% permethrin cream or lotion to the child’s entire body from the neck down. The lotion or cream is left for 8-14 hours and washed off with scrub bathing. The second treatment may be needed a week later. Close contacts including all family members should also be treated.


For the rashes topical steroid creams, oral antihistamines o0r other anti-itch treatment arte also prescribed.

Since the mite cal live for 48-72 hours on clothing, bedding, towels etc should be washed in hot water and dried in hot dryer.

Prevention of scabies:

  • Clean all clothes and linen: Use hot, soapy water to wash all clothing, towels and bedding for at least 2 days before treatment. Dry with high heat. T. Dry clean the clothes which you cannot wash.
  • Starve the mites: Place the items which you cannot wash in sealed plastic bag and leave it outside for one week.

Home remedies for itching:

  • Apply wet wash cloth or soak in cool water on irritated areas of skin.
  • Apply soothing agents like calamine lotion.
  • Take anti-histamines for itching.