Karen Savage | CWK Network
“It’s not such an unusual rash. And it is not really a dangerous rash, except that it is very, very itchy and very uncomfortable.”
- Dr. Kathleen Nelson, professor of pediatrics -
Three-year-old Zacyla and her baby sister LaKesia came to the emergency room with a rash. Dr. Kathleen Nelson met them there and examined the girls. “It seems like this is a very itchy rash?” she asks the girls’ mom, LaJuan. “Very itchy,” she replies.
Zacyla got it a few weeks ago. Her mom wasn’t too worried until the whole family started itching.
“When we saw these girls,” says Dr. Nelson, “they were scratching at everything – very uncomfortable. When we looked at the rash, it had some characteristic findings. They looked like bumps, but some of the bumps had little whiteheads on them. Some of the other bumps looked like deep blisters.”
The girls’ mom guessed it was an allergy. It turns out it wasn’t. Dr. Nelson explains to the family what’s causing the bumps. “It is most likely what is called scabies. And scabies is – it’s a little invasion of the body of actually little insects – mites. And they burrow under the skin, and they make tracks under the skin, and they lay eggs. And both the mites themselves are itchy, and the eggs are itchy,” she says.
And understandably, LaJuan is a little disturbed. “Gross. I’m about to die,” she laughs. It may be gross, but at least it’s not dangerous.
Dr. Nelson explains, “It’s not such an unusual rash. And it is not really a dangerous rash, except that it is very, very itchy and very uncomfortable. And the treatment for this rash is basically to apply an insecticide lotion over the entire body and leave it on six to eight to 12 hours.”
She says the family also needs to wash all clothes, sheets and towels in hot water and have their home fumigated.
“It’s very contagious, and it tends to infest families, especially if they share bedding or towels,” says Dr. Nelson.
And to prevent infection when they scratch, the girls’ fingernails need to be kept short, because they will be itching for a while. “They probably will be itching for at least a week despite treating the infestation,” says Dr. Nelson.
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