Scabies is an itchy infection with the mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. It is often seen on the hands, ankles and feet, often between fingers or toes. On very young children and babies with softer skin, it can occur across a wider part of the body.
How does a child get scabies?
Scabies is caught from close personal contact. It is unlikely to be caught in the school environment but close contact in sports cannot be excluded. Parents often pass it to their babies.
Normally diagnosis is made by looking at the rash. Sometimes it is very scratched up and hard to determine, but small track like ‘burrow’ marks make it very obvious. A skin scraping can be done but is not really necessary in the primary care setting.
Treatment consists of application of 5% Permethrin Cream from head to toe let on for eight to fourteen hours. We also try to control itching with an antihistamine. It is a good idea to thoroughly clean the home environment, wash bedding in hot water, and treat household contacts with the same one dose cream to prevent re-infection.
Matthew Toohey, MD. May 2011