Understanding Scabies in Children: Potential Complications



Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites known as Sarcoptes scabiei. While it is generally treatable, it’s essential for parents to be aware of potential complications that can arise if scabies is left untreated or not managed effectively. In this article, we will discuss some of the complications that scabies can cause in children.

1. Secondary Skin Infections:

When a child scratches the itchy scabies rash, it can lead to breaks in the skin. These openings create an opportunity for bacteria to enter and cause secondary skin infections, such as impetigo or cellulitis. These infections may require additional medical treatment with antibiotics.

2. Persistent Itching and Discomfort:

The intense itching associated with scabies can be distressing for children. It may lead to disrupted sleep patterns and difficulty concentrating in school. Prolonged itching can also result in emotional distress and behavioral changes.

3. Allergic Reactions:

In some cases, children may develop allergic reactions to the mites, their eggs, or their waste products. This can result in a more severe and widespread rash, which may require stronger medical intervention.

4. Scabies Crustosa (Norwegian Scabies):

This rare and severe form of scabies can occur in individuals with weakened immune systems, such as young children, the elderly, or those with certain medical conditions. It leads to a thick, crusted rash that covers a large area of the body. Norwegian scabies requires prompt medical attention.

5. Scarring and Pigmentation Changes:

Scratching scabies lesions can lead to scarring and changes in skin pigmentation. While these are not usually permanent, they can take some time to fade.

6. Spread to Others:

Scabies is highly contagious, and if not treated promptly, it can spread to other family members, classmates, or close contacts. Effective management and treatment are essential to prevent further transmission.

7. Social and Psychological Impact:

Children with scabies may experience social stigmatization due to the visible rash and the perception of being contagious. This can impact their self-esteem and overall well-being.


Scabies is a treatable condition, and with proper medical care and attention, most children can recover without experiencing severe complications. It’s crucial for parents to be vigilant and seek medical advice if they suspect their child has scabies. Early diagnosis and treatment not only alleviate symptoms but also prevent potential complications and further spread of the infestation. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for proper guidance on managing scabies in children.

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