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Skin lesions are pathologies that are often confused with each other, so it is important to consult with specialists to define the diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment for their eradication. One of these diseases is called scabies, which deserves to be diagnosed quickly to treat it properly and avoid complications. Can children have it? How is scabies spread in children? We tell you all the information about this disease.
Scabies is an infestation of the skin, produced by mites called Sarcoptes scabiei, very common in children and is a common cause of visits to the pediatrician.
These mites enter the superficial layer of the skin, reproduce, lay their eggs and at the site they will produce skin lesions such as small blisters or hives that produce a lot of itching or itching, especially at night, since the life cycle of these mites is nocturnal.
Scabies is a very contagious disease and it happens by direct contact with the infected person or with the clothes, sheets, towels or utensils that have been used, since the mites can live from 2 to 3 days in these clothes. It is common among family members, in nursery schools, colleges, prisons or where there is overcrowding. It has an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks and a reinfection can occur in days.
When the parents take the child to the consultation, the first thing they tell me is that the child has some nuggets in the skin that itch a lot and when I question them about the schedule, they inform me that it is more frequent at night, that almost no sleeps or is very restless due to itching.
This is characteristic of the nocturnal cycle of the mites and also the itching or itching can be worse with hot baths. When performing the physical exam I can find hives or blisters and even pustules due to superinfection due to the intense scratching.
The skin is also seen as thick, scaly, with scabs or stripes produced by the nails when scratching forcefully and this is due to the hypersensitivity of the skin due to the presence of the mite, its eggs or excrement.
The areas usually most affected by scabies mites are: hands and feet, especially the interdigital folds, the armpits, the genitals and buttocks, the navel, the elbows and the wrist area. Although there are cases of large infestations where scabies covers practically all the skin of the body, including the face and scalp, which are severe cases and difficult to treat.
Symptoms in infants or young children may be more intense, finding large reddish blisters on the soles of the hands and feet. These lesions, when broken by scratching, can become infected with bacteria and another skin disease called impetigo occurs, which would be a complication of scabies.
The diagnosis is made by the clinic, especially when the parents report that the itching or itching is more frequent at night. And another important piece of information to make the diagnosis of scabies is that the parents confirm that they or other family members also suffer from the same symptoms. If I have any doubts, I refer you to a child dermatologist to take a skin sample and observe the scabies mites under the microscope.
Patients must be treated appropriately and also the rest of the family, So be it preventively, even if there are no apparent symptoms, because it is most likely that one of them has been infected.
The treatment is done with medicated lotions, It is kept on the skin for 8 to 12 hours and preferably is placed at night, to be removed the next day with soap and water, lasting 6 days in a row and could be repeated if some lesions persist.
Also if the child weighs more than 15 kilos, an oral treatment can be indicated to eradicate the mites, this treatment being quite effective. And treatment with oral antibiotics will be indicated if there are superinfected lesions that make us think of impetigo.
To finish, here are some recommendations to avoid scabies contamination:
- Minimize direct contact with the skin of the child diagnosed with scabies.
- Avoid contact with clothing, sheets, towels or other objects that the carrier of the disease is using or has used.
- Boil all the clothes daily with soap and water and dry them in the sun or at high temperatures.
- You can also place all the clothes, stuffed animals and toys in dark bags, hermetically closed and leave there for more than three days to eradicate the mites.
- Preventive or curative treatment for other people who have or have contact with the child, whether in the family, nursery school or schools.
- And you can return to the school year when you have completed the treatment and no longer have skin lesions.
You can read more articles similar to Scabies in children, a very contagious and annoying skin disease, in the category of Children's Diseases on site.