This is a highly contagious skin rash which affects babies, adults and children. It is passed from one person to another via skin contact and is no respecter of person or their level of personal hygiene.

In other words, it can affect anyone, irrespective of how clean you are!

The name ‘scabies’is taken from a Latin word for this condition which means ‘to scratch’. And scratching is certainly an important part of this condition. If your baby has scabies then he/she will be scratching all the time. Scabies can occur at any time of the year.

Symptoms of scabies

The most obvious sign of scabies is a rash. This appears as tiny red spots or bumps which develop on elbows, knees, armpits, lower abdomen and groin. Other areas include around the wrists and between the fingers.

Babies can develop scabies on the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet; and on the face and scalp.

Scabies can also appear as small, pus filled bumps or blisters which contain water. These will burst if scratched.

The scabies rash is extremely itchy and even more at night time or if your baby has had a warm bath. This itching is likely to keep baby awake so be prepared for a tired and fretful baby the next day. Stop your baby from scratching if possible as this can cause nasty looking scabs to form over the rash. Plus it can also trigger a bacterial infection such as impetigo.

Causes of scabies

It is caused by tiny mites who burrow under the outer layer of your baby’s skin. These mites deposit eggs and faeces whilst they do so which trigger an allergic reaction in your skin - a bumpy rash which is also very itchy.

If you notice wavy, silvery or light brown lines on your baby’s skin then these will be where the mite have burrowed under the skin.

Treatment of scabies

If your baby has developed this rash then see your GP. He or she will want to determine if this rash is scabies before prescribing a course of treatment. Your GP will prescribe a cream which has to be applied to your baby’s body from the neck downwards. This includes any areas of his/her body which do not have this rash.

It is important to do this to stop any further spreading of this rash. Apply the cream in the spaces between your baby’s fingers and toes, around the groin area and the belly button. If the rash has spread to your baby’s face and/or scalp then apply the cream there as well. That means the forehead, hairline, temples and scalp.

Apply this cream at night and wash it off the next morning. It is a good idea to put soft cotton mittens or socks over your baby’s hands to prevent him/her from scratching in the night.

How long does it take to get rid of the scabies mite?

Sometimes the itching will cease after only a couple of days but in other cases, it lasts for several weeks. This often happens, even after the mites have gone.

But if the cream works then there shouldn’t be any new outbreaks of this rash or any new burrows under the skin.

Prevention of scabies

We cannot stress too highly how contagious this skin rash is. So, keep any clothing, bedding, and towels etc which have been used by your baby away from other members of your family.

It is easy to contract this rash from touching an infected surface.

Also, wash you and your family’s bedding, clothing etc in hot water every day and put the vacuum cleaner around the house. Do this on a daily basis until your baby’s rash has completely gone.

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