Once the scabies mites are on your skin, they will burrow under the skin and lay eggs, which will hatch into adult mites in about ten days. An intensely itchy rash develops a few weeks later, as your body develops an allergic reaction to the mites and eggs.
The rash consists of small red bumps or blisters and commonly are found between your child's fingers, on the inside of the wrists, in his armpits and groin area. You may also see small lines around the bumps, which are the burrows that the mites create as they travel under the skin.
Although it takes weeks to develop the rash of scabies, you can infect other people as soon as you have the mites on your skin, so by the time one person is diagnosed with scabies, other family members are usually also infected.
If required, testing can be done by placing mineral oil on an then scraping the burrows or new lesions, since these are most likely to contain eggs or mites. The scrapings are then looked at under a microscope.
The main treatment for scabies is a prescription lotion with permethrin (Elimite), that kills the mites. You can also use other measures to help control the itching, including antihistamines and steroid creams. All family members are usually treated, since everyone is usually infected, even if they don't have symptoms yet. Children are usually not considered to be contagious anymore twenty four hours after treatment.
The scabicide medicine is usually very effective and kills the mites quickly, but your child may continue to have the itchy rash for several weeks as his body heals from the allergic reaction.
Mites can live for up to four days, although some experts say two weeks, off of the human body, so it is important to wash all bedding and infected clothing in hot water. Place items that can't be washed in a sealed plastic bag for a few days or weeks to kill the mites.
Another form of scabies can be transmitted from dogs, but usually causes a more mild infestation that clears up on its own in a few weeks.