Scabies caused by the burrowing of female mite (Sarcoptesscabiei) underneath the top layer of skin forms red itchy aberrations. The female mite lays eggs underneath the skin which hatch into larvae and the infection spreads. The skin of infants is more sensitive to scabies infection and sometimes can aggravate to the formation of large blistering lesions and in some cases pus-filled bumps.
Why babies are at risk?
The infection can spread at day care nurseries, hospitals and households where other people are infected. Due to a sensitive immune system, the infection spreads more rapidly in kids as compared to adults. The mites fancy the soft skin of the babies as they can move easily underneath the skin and lay eggs.
Symptoms and indications
The scabies infection is indicated by pink/red bumps and thread like track lines (3-10 mm long) originating from them. There tracks are greyish-white or light skin colored. This is a clear sign of scabies mite moving underneath the skin to lay eggs. The rash like reddening of skin is prominent in body parts like between the fingers, inner elbows, armpits, female breasts, male genitals, lower abdomen, navel, buttocks and back of the knees. In babies these rash like symptoms might also be apparent on the palms of hands and soles of feet, trunk, arms, legs, head and neck.
Another indicative sign of scabies infection in babies is the uneasiness during the night when the mite is active. This is apparent from the constant crying of the baby who is feeling irritated from the infestation of the mite.
Treating scabies in babies
Scabies in babies should be treated proactively as it can spread further and become a problem. Topical creams like Permethrin (5%) and Malathion liquid are completely safe for babies over the age of two months. These applications soothe the irritable skin, making your baby sleep sound.
In most cases, a physical examination of the baby is followed by recommendation of topical creams or lotions including:
Permethrin cream – Weekly application of the cream, preferably at night for infants aged 2 months or older.
Crotamiton cream – This topical ointment is applied for 2 consecutive days, and then rinsed off 48 hours after the last application.
Sulfur ointment – Applied for 3 consecutive nights and then rinsed off 24 hours after the last application. This method is the most preferred for babies as it has the least probability of allergic reactions.
It should be kept in mind that topical cream/lotion should be applied to the entire body from neck down. Don’t forget to apply underneath the fingernails, toenails, buttock crease, inside the navel and between the toes.
For severe scabies infection, oral medicines can also be prescribed. Ivermectin pills can be administered for children older than 5 years or ones who weigh less than 15 kg is recommended.
In case the baby develops extremely itchy rashes, a doctor’s consultation is recommended. Members of the family who come in close contact with the infant should also be evaluated by the doctor.
Precautions to adhere to
The mites are unable to survive when kept off the human body for more than 48-71 hours. Washing the clothes of the infected baby in hot water regularly makes sure, the infection is not spread beyond control.
Other members of the family having similar symptoms should stay away from the baby as it can worsen the condition as more mites infest the infant’s skin.