School reports scabies case

On March 12 parents with children in the Caledonia School District were notified of the presence of scabies in the elementary, middle and high school. The below information was shared and posted on the district website at www.cps.k12.mn.us/page/hot_news.

Scabies is caused by a microscopic mite. Attracted to warmth and unwashed body odor, the female mite burrows into the skin, lays eggs and produces toxins that causes the skin to react. Larvae, or newly hatched mites, travel to the skin surface, lying in shallow pockets where they develop into adult mites. If the mite is scratched off the skin, it can live in bedding for up to 24 hours or more. It may take up to a month before a person will notice the itching.

Symptoms

The earliest and most common symptom of scabies is itching, especially at night.  Little red bumps like hives, tiny bites or pimples appear.  In more advanced cases, the skin may be crusty, scaly and thickened.  It takes two to six weeks for symptoms to start. If your child has had this before, symptoms may start in one to four days.

The scabies mite prefers warmer sites on the skin such as skin folds, where clothing is tight, between the fingers or under the nails, on the folds of the elbows and wrists, the buttocks or the belt line. Mites also tend to hide in, or on, bracelets and watchbands or the skin under rings.

In infants and small children, the infestation may involve the entire body including the palms, soles and scalp. The child may be tired and irritable because of loss of sleep from itching or scratching all night. Bacterial infection may occur due to scratching.

 

Spread

Frequent and/or prolonged direct contact with the skin of a person with scabies or by sharing bedding, towels, underclothing of a person with scabies. Mites cannot survive off the human body for more than three days and cannot reproduce off the body.

 

Contagious period

From the time a person acquires the mites (before the rash appears) until 24 hours after treatment begins.

Successful eradication of this infestation requires the following:

See a doctor as soon as possible to begin treatment with medication. Treat all exposed individuals whether obviously infested or not.  Incubation time is six to eight weeks, so symptoms may not show up for awhile. If you do not treat everyone, it is as if you were never treated.

Apply treatment to all skin from neck to legs – this includes between fingers and toes, the crease between the buttocks, etc. If you wash your hands after application, you need to reapply the medication to your hands again.

Wash clothes. Do all the laundry with the hottest water possible.  The mite is attracted to the scent of unwashed body odor. Any clean clothes hanging in the closet or folded in drawers are OK.

Items (stuffed animals or toys) you do not wish to wash may be placed in the dryer on high for 30 minutes or pressed with a warm iron.

Change the bedding, washing mattress pad, sheets, quilts and blankets in the hottest water possible and drying in the drier on high for at least 30 minutes. If you can’t wash your pillows, run them in the drier on high for 30 minutes. Vacuum mattresses and box springs and encase them in the zippered covers that encase the whole mattress and box spring. These covers are available at most department stores in the bedding department and are quite inexpensive.

Carpets and upholstery should be vacuumed. Once the entire house is vacuumed, discard the bag.

Items that cannot be washed in hot water or run in the drier can be placed in plastic bags and placed in the garage or outside for two weeks.  If the mites do not get a meal within one week, they die.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the elementary health office at 507-725-5205 or the MS/HS health office at 507-725-3316.

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