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Children's Health

Itchy red spots

08/23/2006

Question:

Hello:

My children and I ages 6,3, and 23 all have spaced out little red spots that itch like crazy. They spread out over the lower section of our body from the waist down to above our knees. At first I thought we might have bed bugs b/c everyone is talking about the break out of that bug, but I researched the symptioms and investigated our beds for the bugs and fecies that they apparently leave no sighting. I then was told by a close friend that we might be experiencing heat related rash. Well anyways I have been applying extra strength benadryl cream and gold bond powder on top of that, it relieves the itching, but what do we do in order to make this disappear?

Answer:

As I am certain you know, seeing a health professional is the only way to diagnose the rash. I hope that you will consider doing so to be certain of the nature of the problem. 

When everyone in the family has such a similar intensely itchy rash, it suggests something contagious. SInce you are each are apparently well without fever or other signs of illness, it is more likely a shared parasite infestation rather than a shared viral illness such as chicken pox. Scabies is a high possibility given that scabies mites prefer the waistband, umbilicus, and groin areas, which seem to be your family's areas of greatest itching. Pinpoint, fluid-filled bumps and red bumps in an S-shaped pattern is the usual presentation. Itching is usually worse at night.

If this is scabies, don't feel embarrassed. It affects people of all ages and socioeconomic levels. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact among household members.

The treatment is the application of permethrin, also called Nix or Elimite. Everyone needs to be treated and the sheets and clothing washed in hot water. Loratadine (Claritin) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl), taken orally as directed for age, help to relieve itching as does application of topical hydrocortisone 1% cream to the rashy areas. It is easy for the these intensely itchy spots to become infected from scratching, so if you notice a honey-yellow crusting, you need to consult with your health care provider for evaluation for infection.

 I hope this helps!

 

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University