Scabies at School?

Béatrice Plamondon, Scabies at School?

Since the beginning of the 2018 school year, the old infection, scabies, resurfaces in schools and contaminates people affecting their health.


Scabies is caused by the colonization of the skin by a mite. The parasite digs a shelter under the skin and lays its eggs there. Three to four days after, the larvae hatches and stays on the surface of the skin. An infested person may carry about 5 to 10 mites.


Scabies is a very contagious infection. The transmission is mainly made by skin contact and by clothes. Also, it is spreading easily and quickly in closed places like schools, nurseries, hospitals and retirement homes. Coralie Gingras said: “Scabies is more likely in schools because it is closed and scabies spreads faster in closed places”.


Since the beginning of the first symptoms, intense itching occurs all over the body, especially at night. Small red buttons appear on the hands, armpits, belly, genital area, between the fingers, wrists and around the navel.


There are lotions, creams or shampoos that work well to resorb this infection. Clean clothes should be put on immediately after the treatment. To prevent recontamination, dirty clothing, sheets and towels must also be washed at 55 ° C to remove all germs. It is necessary to repeat the treatment 7 days later, because no product is powerful enough to kill the eggs.


It is normal the itches continue a few days later, even with the treatment. However, if they persist for more than one month after the treatment, you have to go back to see your doctor.


“We can not really protect ourselves from scabies, but to have less chance of catching it, we must not have long skin-to-skin contact and not share the same tissues as clothes or bedding,“ Coralie said.

Everybody is apt to catch this infection. Young children, old people, people with hiv/sida issues and people whose immune system are weakened. Scabies is not caused by a lack of hygiene, it can be transmitted anywhere in the world.


Any sexual partner, even without symptoms, must be treated. Avoid to share the same underwear, clothes and towels. Because of contact transmissions, all family members must be treated at the same time.


Writer: Béatrice Plamondon

Editor: Lola Pearl O’Grady, Julia Labbé, Taony Jomphe