What is scabies? What are its symptoms? How is it transmitted?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by tiny insects called mites. Scabies is a nuisance, not an infection. It is common in children. Some people believe children get scabies because they have not been washed properly, but scabies has nothing to do with cleanliness.

What are the symptoms of scabies?

The mites that cause scabies dig deep into the skin and cause a very itchy rash. The rash looks like curvy white threads, tiny red bumps or scratches, and it can appear anywhere on the body. It usually shows up between fingers, or around wrists or elbows. On a baby, it can appear on the head, face, neck and body.

How is scabies transmitted?

Scabies spreads from person to person by touch or by contact with the clothes or other personal items of someone who has it. The mites can live on clothes, other objects and off skin for four days. The mites will die after four days if the items are stored in a plastic bag. Washing clothes or other personal items, and bed sheets and blankets in hot water and then putting them in a dryer on the 'hot' cycle also gets rid of the mites.

How can scabies be treated?

Scabies can be treated with a cream from your doctor. Even after the cream gets rid of mites, a child may still be itchy for a few weeks. It doesn't mean that the mites are still there. It just means that the child is still reacting to them. Continues - Canadian Paediatric Society


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