Scabies in Children

Scabies in Children

What is Scabies in Children

The scabies rash, caused by microscopic mites that burrow into the skin’s upper layers, is an extremely itchy and contagious skin infection. Scabies is an infection that can be passed not only in children, but people of all ages.

What are the Symptoms of Scabies

There are many different skin rashes caused by thousands of culprits, from allergies to infections, there are signs that help to differentiate scabies from of rashes.

After the mites responsible for scabies have entered the skin it usually takes about 2 to 4 weeks for the rash to appear. The rash itself is the body’s reaction to the proteins, eggs and other excretions from the mites in the skin. The rash can be extremely itchy with the irritation increasing at night. Another sign that the rash is from a scabies infection can be the presence of thin, threadlike gray or white lines on the skin from the burrowing mites. These lines resemble irregular pencil marks.

Scabies in children younger than 2 years old the rash is most commonly found on the palms, soles of the feet, head and neck. Older children usually develop the rash in between the fingers or in the folds and creases at the wrists, elbows, waistline, thighs, buttocks and genitals.

Scabies has an incubation period of usually 4 to 6 weeks, however, if scabies has previously infected your child, symptoms can occur much quicker. Symptoms can occurs as quickly as 1 to 4 days after being exposed to the mites again.

What Caregivers Can Do for Scabies in Children

Scabies is extremely itchy and irritating, however scratching will only increase the chances of the skin developing a secondary bacterial infection. You can help your child by helping them not to scratch and keeping their fingernails trimmed during a scabies infection.

When to Call Your Child’s Doctor

If you notice or your child complains of an itch rash, contact your child’s doctor. The doctor will need to examine the rash to make a diagnoses and recommend treatment for the scabies infection.

Diagnosing Scabies

Your child’s pediatrician can often diagnose a scabies infection by examining the rash and asking about the intensity of the rash’s itchiness. Scabies can be difficult to identify due to the fact that children are usually unable to resist scratching this highly irritating rash, cause scratch marks and crusting.

If your pediatrician decides they need to confirm the diagnoses they may take a gentle scraping from the rash or a burrow. The sample will be examined under a microscope to identify the scabies mites or its eggs.

Treatment for Scabies in Children

Children with a scabies rash will need to be cared for with one of several lotion or cream options. These lotions and creams include:

  • Permethrin 5% cream
  • Crotamiton 10% lotion or cream
  • Lindane lotion (safe only for children over 2 years of age)

For most cases, pediatricians choose a permethrin 5% cream. The cream needs to be applied over the entire body from the neck all the way down to the toes. For infants and young children it will also need to be applied to the head and scalp as the mites can infect these parts of the body in small children.

Although other creams and lotions can be used, such as crotamiton 10%, permethrin is most commonly used for treating scabies in children. Talk to your pediatrician about how often the cream or lotion should be reapplied. Often treatment should be reapplied about a week after the initial treatment.

Scabies is a very persistent rash. Even after being effectively treated, the itching associated with scabies can last for several weeks and even months. Although this continued irritation is frustrating for both parents and children, it does not mean that your child still has the scabies infection. To help relieve the itching, talk to your child’s doctor about an oral antihistamine or a topical corticosteroid. Keep your child’s fingernail trimmed and encourage them not to itch to avoid further infection.


Although scabies is very contagious, produces extreme itchiness and discomfort, the condition is mild and highly treatable. Once your child has completed their treatment for scabies they can return to school or childcare.

What Parents Can Do to Help Prevent Scabies

The mites that cause a scabies infestation are easily spread from person to person through close contact, especially skin to skin. If a family member has scabies, talk to your healthcare provider about whether other family members should be tested or treated for scabies.

To help prevent a second infestation clean all clothes and linens using hot, soapy water and dry with high heat. For items that your child has come into contact with that cannot be washed, try to “starve the mites” by sealing objects in a plastic bag out of the way for a couple weeks. The mites will die after a few days without food.

The Pediatric Center is Here For You

If you think your child may have scabies do not hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician to have your child check out. Remember these key points about identifying scabies:

  • Location of rash
  • Increased itch at night
  • Threadlike gray or white lines

Keep in mind that scabies, although irritating and very itchy and uncomfortable, it is highly treatable. If you want to learn more or have further concerns about scabies in children or treatment options for you child, give us a call at The Pediatric Center. We are here to help you best help your child.

Featured image: By Steschke – Own work,

Ringworm in Children

Ringworm in Children

Ringworm can be localized to a particular area of the body or it can be found all over the body. It usually affects the scalp, feet, groin, arms, legs, and other places.

Ringworm is usually itchy and can become painful if the sufferer scratches the affected area enough that sores develop. If left untreated, ringworm can spread to more areas of the body and it can also be spread to others. Ringworm is very common among young children and those whom share a home with pet cats.

How do you catch ringworm?

Ringworm is very contagious. It can be spread by simple contact with the fungus that resides on people or animals or with a surface where the active fungus happens to be. The fungus that causes ringworm thrives in wet environments such as public showers, pools, and dressing rooms and coming into contact with the fungus if you have minor skin abrasions or injuries multiplies your risk of becoming infected with ringworm.

Those who go barefoot often are at a higher risk of getting ringworm as well as those who share hairbrushes or wear unwashed clothing. House cats also readily carry the fungus and can easily transfer the fungus to those who handle them.

So how do you know if your child has ringworm?

Ringworm infection usually results in the following conditions:

  • Raised, red, scaly, itchy patches of skin
  • These patches may have oozing blisters
  • A characteristic “ring” of dry raised red skin encircles the scaly, dry patch

Ringworm that affects fingernails may result in discolored and cracked nails while infections on the scalp may result in bald or thinning patches on the head.

How does my pediatrician diagnose ringworm in children?

The ringworm fungus will glow under a blacklight.  Your pediatrician may use a blacklight in a darkened room to inspect the infected areas on your child’s body. If glowing patches appear, your pediatrician may order additional tests to identify if indeed it is a fungal infection. Sometimes a biopsy or a skin cell sample may be collected and examined under a microscope.

A diagnosis is usually pretty accurate, especially if the infected areas on the skin are pronounced.

So my kid has been diagnosed with ringworm. Now what?

Once ringworm has be diagnosed, your pediatrician may prescribe medication designed to treat the infection based on the severity of the affected area. Typically, a skin cream or lotion is prescribed that is specially formulated to kill the fungus and soothe the infected area and decrease itchiness. There are multiple types of this lotion available so if one doesn’t work, another can be prescribed. The most common medication prescribed for ringworm is Ketoconazole. This treatment is applied to the affected area multiple times per day for up to 4 weeks at a time, or until the infection is gone.

In addition to medication, your pediatrician will also recommend lifestyle changes that are meant to reduce the exposure to common methods of infection. Also, behavior changes may be recommended to include:

  • Avoiding tight or restrictive clothing that prevents the affected areas from drying out or excessively rubs the infection.
  • Regularly washing bedding and clothing your child sleeps in and wears.
  • Washing and drying your skin on a regular basis.
  • Consider limiting contact with pets or avoiding them altogether.

How long does a ringworm infection last?

Left untreated, ringworm can last for years. With medical treatment, ringworm usually clears up anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Ringworm infections that persist may require an oral antifungal medication to be prescribed. Most children respond well to treatment.

What do I do if I suspect my child has ringworm?

Call your pediatrician if over-the-counter medications fail to reduce and eliminate the infection. The office visit to diagnose a ringworm infection involves a quick check of the infected areas and is non-invasive. The Pediatric Center in Idaho Falls is a great place to bring your children for a ringworm checkup. Our pediatricians are very experienced in diagnosing and treating ringworm infection and are available to answer any questions you may have.

Image Credit: By James Heilman, MD – Own work


Pertussis in Children

Pertussis in Children

Between 1940 and 1945, around one million cases of whooping cough were reported. However, after the vaccine was introduced later in the same decade, the number of pertussis in children was drastically reduced.

Pertussis in children causes:

  • shortness of breath
  • vomiting
  • drooling
  • tearing up
  • bluing around the mouth

Children under the age of one can develop severe and potentially life threatening breathing problems if the illness is not treated quickly. A child exhibiting symptoms related to whooping cough should be taken to the pediatric center for proper treatment.

How to identify Pertussis in Children

It’s important to know the symptoms of pertussis in children because it initially shares symptoms with the common cold. The first stage can last from one to two weeks and consists of a runny nose, sneezing, a low-grade fever, and a mild cough. The second stage lasts up to 10 weeks and coughing severity increases to its’ namesake. Watch for a cough that continues to worsen and listen for the “whoop” sound as you child inhales deeply and quickly between coughs. Your child might have a hard time breathing normally and become exhausted. A compromised immune system at this stage of infection increases your child’s risk of incurring a host of other conditions including pneumonia, ear infections, weight loss (resulting from lack of appetite), and dehydration. Even seizures may results from lack of oxygen to the brain during a coughing fit. Recovery often begins two to four weeks after the initial coughing fits, marked by increasing ease of respiration and a reduction in coughing. The cough may not go away entirely for many months and can easily return with another respiratory infection.

When should I take my child to the Pediatric Center?

Because the symptoms of pertussis in children starts as just a common cold, it’s important to watch for these signs that it may be more such as:

  • Child is under one year old and has not be fully immunized
  • You find out that your child has been exposed to someone that may have a chronic cough or whooping cough.
  • Child’s cough has become more severe and causes lips and fingertips to turn blue.
  • Child’s cough has become more frequent and they have a hard time catching their breath after a coughing fit.
  • Child is exhausted after coughing fit, vomits after coughing, and has little or no appetite.
    Pertussis in children under the age of six months is usually treated in a hospital since pneumonia can develop in one in four of those children. When receiving care, your child may be kept in isolation so as not to infect other patients or their family. Thick respiratory secretions may need to be suctioned from your child’s lungs and oxygen can be given to help your child breathe better. If you child more a year old, they can usually be treated at home after a visit to the Pediatric Center.

Treatment at the Pediatric Center

When you arrive at the center, your doctor or caregiver will perform a physical examination and will likely take a swab of the back of the throat through your nose to perform a laboratory test. They may also request a blood sample. If the results come back positive, pertussis in children is treated with a course of antibiotics that lasts two weeks. This method is most effective if a positive diagnosis is made when coughing is weak. Antibiotics are helpful at minimizing the spread of whooping cough, but they won’t stop the coughing so you’ll need to use other forms of care to reduce the discomfort of coughing. The following treatments will help to minimize coughing discomfort and promote healing.

  • Put a cool-mist vaporizer in the room with the child to help soothe the irritated lungs and breathing passages.
  • The cool-mist vaporizer will also help loosen the buildup of secretions that are coating the respiratory tract and make coughing more productive.
  • Keep your home clean or irritants that can start a coughing fit such as smoke, dust, or fumes.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. This can include water, juice, soups, and fruits. Keeping hydrated will lessen the chance of coughing from having a dry throat.

How do I prevent whooping cough?

When your baby is two months old, your physician at the Pediatric Center should start the DTaP regime of vaccinations. DTaP stands for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and whooping cough (Pertussis), for which the vaccination is formulated to protect against. Your child will receive immunizations shot at two months, four months and six months. They will also need a booster shot between 12 – 18 months, and then again at 4 – 5 years. DTaP may be administered as a booster to adults and pregnant women, as well as to children 7 – 10 of age who were not immunized completely with all previous DTaP shots. A booster is needed every 10 years thereafter. After your child receives the vaccine with a shot in the upper thigh muscles, they may experience low-grade fever, swelling, redness, and tenderness at the injection spot. They may also experience exhaustion and body aches, but all side effects should go away in a day or two. If the vaccination is administered on the recommended time schedule, the efficacy of the vaccine for your child is nearly 100%. Over time, however, the effectiveness of the vaccine declines. Seven in ten children are fully protected five years after they receive their last dose of DTaP but by then, they are older and are less likely to be hospitalized. You can help prevent exposure to whooping cough by making sure that those who spend time with your child are up to date on their vaccines.  

Molluscum in Children

Molluscum in Children

What is Molluscum in Children?

A poxviruse is the source of molluscum in children. The poxviruse causes a relatively common skin infection in children, producing harmless, non-cancerous flesh colored growths in the skin’s top layers. Molluscum disease  is spread through direct contact with the skin of an infected individual or through sharing towels with someone who has molluscum. Due to the contagious nature of the disease, outbreaks have occasionally been reported at childcare and daycare centers.

What are the Symptoms of Molluscum in Children?

Caregivers may notice a small number of, typically between 2 to 20, dome shaped raised bumps or nodules on the skin. These bumps are often described as having a wart like appearance. These bumps tend to be quite small, flesh colored or slightly pink. They will have a shiny appearance with an indentation or a dimple at the center of each bump.

Molluscum in children usually develops on the face, torso, and extremities, and can be found anywhere on the body except for the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Although the presence of these bumps may alarm parents, it is important to know that they are painless for the child. Another important note on the bumps caused by Molluscum is that they can last from several months to even a few years. This infection is most common in children between the ages of 1 and 12 years old.

Typically, Molluscum has an incubation period that varies between 2 to 7 weeks. Occasionally the incubation period may be much longer, even up to as long as 6 months.

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

The Pediatric Center wants parents to know that if they notice bumps on their child that fit this description it time to call your child’s pediatrician. 

How Will Your Doctor Diagnose?

Your child’s doctor can usually make diagnosis of Molluscum with a visual examination of the rash. In the event that the diagnosis is uncertain, your child’s doctor can perform a skin biopsy or set up an appointment for your child to be seen by a dermatologist for a biopsy.

What is the Treatment for Molluscum in Children?

When it comes to treatment for Molluscum nodules, most cases resolve themselves without treatment. Meaning that if a child has a few scattered bumps they will go away on their own eventually without any treatment at all. Some parents and children may elect to have the bumps removed. The bumps can be removed through a scraping procedure with a sharp instrument called a curate, by using peeling agents or through freezing techniques such as liquid nitrogen. All of these methods are painful and should be carefully considered.

It is recommended that if the bumps are to be treated, the simplest treatment should be tried first. Simple treatments are meant to irritate the spots to encourage the body’s immune system to recognize the presence of the virus and attack the infected cells. Simple treatments can include:

  • Tape stripping. Cover the spots with a watertight tape, leave the tape on for a couple days then pull it off, thus irritating the spots.
  • ‘Irritating solutions’ can be applied to the bumps and must be carefully applied to avoid irritating the surrounding skin.
  • An aluminium acetate solution can be applied in conjunction with tape stripping if the above methods do not work.

Talk to your child’s doctor before pursuing any at home remedies and about treatment options.

The more aggressive a treatment the more likely scarring will occur. In rare cases, after the bumps have been removed and the molluscum infection healed, scarring can still remain.

As previously mentioned, the molluscum contagiosum infection usually will go away on its own after a period of several months to a few years. Children with suppressed immune systems may have the infection for even longer or the infection may spread to other parts of the body.

What Can Parents Do at Home?

There are a number of things that parents can do from home to help prevent the spread of molluscum bumps to other parts of the child’s body. Things to do at home include:

  • Have your child take a shower instead of a bath. The virus can live in the warm bath water and be carried to other parts of the body.
  • Wash and dry bath toys after each use, even bath toys can spread the virus.
  • Towel dry carefully. The virus can be spread by bath towels, so dry the bumps last and then wash the towel.

How can Molluscum in Children be Prevented?

The “keep your hands to yourself” policy for children is helpful in the prevention of many childhood diseases and the spread of common colds as well. Molluscum is spread through skin-to-skin contact with another child or adult with molluscum bumps. If your child has molluscum here are some important tips to prevent the spread of the virus to other children:

  • Do not share bath with other children.
  • Do not share towels, clothing or washcloths.
  • Be sure that you wash your hands well after touching the molluscum bumps.

Although molluscum is contagious, your child can still go to school or daycare and play with other children. Molluscum bumps are typically covered by clothing, protecting the infected areas from contact with others.

The Pediatric Center is Here for You

If you have further questions or concerns about Molluscum in children or if you believe that your child may have Mollumscum, don’t hesitate to give us a call at The Pediatric Center. We can help you decide when it is time to come in and have your child looked at by their doctor. Remember, although the bumps of molluscum may look uncomfortable, they are painless for you child.