Information on Scabies

  • Scabies is a common skin condition caused by a microscopic burrowing mite.  The female mite digs a tunnel in the upper layers of the skin and lays one to three eggs daily.  When the eggs hatch the larva work their way to the surface of the skin and lie in shallow pockets where they mature into adult mites. Once mature, the female mite wanders about the skin seeking a new place in which to deposit her eggs. 

     Scabies it is not dangerous but, it is very annoying and anyone who has contact with the mite can become infested.  The rash is intensely itchy as a result of the body’s allergic reaction to the mites, the eggs and their waste.  The urge to scratch may be especially strong at night. 

     The rash appears as red bumps and short, wavy lines in the skin (where the mites have dug).  It is especially common to find the rash in the folds of the skin.  Examples include:  finger-webs (the area between fingers), the wrists and elbows, the underarms, and at belt or panty lines. 

     The scabies mite is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact or less commonly by skin contact with clothes, bedding, etc. that the mites have crawled onto.  The mites cannot jump or fly, but they can crawl.  Mites can live for three days off the body. 


    1. If you think your child may have scabies, call your physician.  Scabies is diagnosed by the typical appearance of the rash and accompanying symptoms.  Your physician will prescribe a mite-killing cream or lotion which is applied once to the skin and then washed off after a specified period of time.  Over-the-counter lotions are not effective.
    2. It is also recommended that all clothes, hats, sheets, pillow cases, blankets, towels, etc. that your child has used be washed in hot water and dried on the hottest setting in the dryer.
    3. Difficult-to-wash- items (such as stuffed toys and pillows) can be stored in tightly closed plastic bags for four days and then used again.  Remember, the mites can only live off the body for three days.
    4. Thoroughly vacuum any carpet or upholstered furniture.

     Please call the nurse’s office if your child contracts scabies so that we can inform his or her teacher.  Your child may return to school once he/she has received treatment.