How to Keep Your Family Safe from Catching Scabies
By: Jeddah Mom
I am sure you have read about the recent outbreak of Scabies in the Makkah region. Schools have been shut down and the Ministry is sending out awareness messages to help us take preventions. Already, there are rumors that it is spreading to Jeddah. I am sharing this post today to help us all keep our families safe.
Scabies is a contagious disease. It all starts with itching and then soon you get rashes. It is not an infection but an infestation. People get scabies when the mite burrows into the top layer of skin to live and feed. When the skin reacts to the mite, an extremely itchy rash develops.
Find more details about Scabies and what it looks like by clicking this link.
Anyone can get scabies. It strikes people of all ages, races, and income levels. Yes, people who are very clean and neat can get scabies too. It tends to spread easily in nursing homes, schools and extended-care facilities.
If we understand how scabies spreads, it is easier to make sure we are safe. Basically, it spreads through skin to skin contact, sharing beddings, towels and personal hygiene items. It does not spread by dirt or dirty homes. Generally school and office settings don’t cause scabies to spread so I am a little worried how and why it is spreading.
The best way to make sure we are all safe is to take precautions. Think of Scabies and treating it as you would treat hair lice. Children and their parents can take more care about personal hygiene. If you or your child come home from outside, make sure take extra steps to ensure you are not bringing the mites (or any germs) home. Here are some ways to help your family:
- Teach them proper hygiene methods like washing their hands when they get home. It is very important that our children be taught to properly wash their hands as soon as they get home from outside and always before eating. Try to help them make it a habit. Remind them with words. Also use visual reminders like charts or sticker methods to enforce habit.
- Ask them to change their clothes and underclothes every day. It is a good idea to rinse those uniforms and clothes in warm water too.
- It is a good idea to get them in the habit of taking a quick shower every day too. School going children really do get dirty very fast. (Just look at their uniforms!)
- Try to change bedsheets and pillow covers twice a week. Use fresh towels each time. I know many households have different ways in which they keep their home in check but since this disease is spreading and we cannot be too sure, going an extra step means extra safety. Bedding and clothing worn or used next to the skin should be machine washed and dried using the hot water and hot dryer cycles or be dry-cleaned. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2 to 3 days away from human skin.
- Cut their nails regularly. When I was in my teens, I was always trying to grow my nails. (typical teen habit!) My mother and aunts would yell at me that I was going to catch scabies. 😀 I am not sure how true it is but it is an old wives tale that getting scratched with long nails gets you scabies. SO, let’s just presume they have some wisdom to it and keep those nails in check.
- Avoid crowded places and shopping malls at times when there is likely to be more crowd.
- Avoid taking children to common swimming pools and play areas. Personally, I have found that during infection season, if I send my healthy child on school trips that are going to Theme parks, definitely the next day they will be down with a fever and infection. I have been noticing this for 2-3 years now so I generally avoid sending my children when there is Flu season.
- Leave your shoes at the door. It is customary in most Asian households to not use shoes indoors but some of us do wear them around our home. It is a good idea to separate the outdoor shoes from what you wear in your house. Leave the germs and dirt outside, right?
- Open the windows for some time during the day. One thing that I have found common among all households in Jeddah is that since we live in an air-conditioned environment, we tend to go for days without getting direct sunlight. Because of the heat, we don’t open our windows. Unless we have stepped out of the house, we don’t get fresh air at all. But… it is so important that we open them for a few hours every day. It helps get rid of toxins, airs the place, avoid smells and odor and also get some energy into the house. I get itchy skin when I am in AC all day so I when I open windows, the heat and the fresh air helps. I have also found that opening windows helps avoid the overwhelmed feeling we stay at home mom get by being indoors all day.
- Here is a tried and tested tip that works for bed bugs, and is sure to work for scabies too. It is cost effective. You can spray on bedding too. Click this link
These are just some of the general things that we can do. I am sure most of us already do these things so you can think of it as a gentle reminder. I’d love for you to share any more tips you think we should consider.
Here is how to treat scabies at home. Herbal Treatments for Scabies.
Wishing you and your family health and happiness.