Scabies infestation is caused by a tiny human mite. It can not be seen by the naked eye, but can be seen with a microscope. It is passed only from humans to humans, not from animals to humans. It is easily spread. During the first 3 weeks that people have scabies they do not itch or have itchy bumps. If you think your child might have scabies, ask if any household members or persons in contact with your child have itchy bumps.
Scabies can be cured by applying a scabicide, such as 5% permethrin cream. In children and adolescents, a 98% cure rate can be attained with this cream if it is applied for 8 to 14 hours. The treatment has to be repeated in one week to prevent recurrence as eggs from the mites may not be killed completely during the first treatment. Ivermectin is a pill that is taken once and has been found to work as well. Ivermectin should not be used in children under 5 years of age, in pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding. Permethrin cream can be used for children 2 months of age or older.
Infants and toddlers should have their hands covered with clothing to prevent licking the scabicide from the skin. Babies, that have dozens or hundreds of itchy bumps, may need a number of re-treatments 7 or 8 days apart.
Even after complete treatment, affected individuals may continue feel itchy for several weeks. Therefore continue treatment using anti-itch cream or Benadryl may be needed.
Area Cleaning the House
All washable clothing, towels, and bed linens which have been in contact with the infested persons should be machine washed in hot water (at least 60° Transmission of the scabies mite via furniture is unlikely. In cases of persistent or chronic infestations, bed mattresses, and upholstered furniture should be vacuumed or gently ironed.
Scabies are easily passed from one person to another. It is common for more than one person in a family to have them, even if they have not yet developed a rash. All household members (as well as babysitters), who have had contact with the affected person for more than 24 hours, should be treated. Children can return to school after one treatment with the anti-scabies medicine. Pets do not carry scabies.
UW Dermatology Department
1 S. Park St7th Floor
Clinic: 608 287-2450
American Family Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Dermatology Specialty Clinic
1675 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
Clinic: 608 263-6420
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/25/2010
Copyright © 06/25/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6479
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