Updated: May 25
So. You’re a freshly-minted parent . . . with a freshly-minted baby! Well, even if you’re not and this is your second or third child, you still have to contend with the same things: seemingly non-stop diaper changes; feedings, feedings, and yet more feedings; and, of course, sleepless nights without end! All par for the course. And yet those first few rough years do come to an end, eventually.
What Are Those Bites on My Baby?
What is definitely not “par for the course” is getting your baby up in the morning and finding that he or she has red or pink bumps in lines or clusters on their skin. Of course, if your baby has especially sensitive skin, those abrasions may well appear as large welts.
Like most of us, you might immediately jump to the conclusion that your infant has fallen victim to bed bugs!
And you may well be right. But what if you’re not? Perhaps what you’re seeing are mite bites? Perhaps even scabies! How are you to know if you have scabies or bed bugs?
Well, obviously you should get your infant to the doctor as soon as possible. However, it would help if you could give your pediatrician some idea of what they’re dealing with.
Bed Bug? Scabies? Mites? Getting It Right.
The problem is that a superficial look at the marks on your baby might not make it clear if your baby has scabies or bed bug bites. The bites can look very similar.
Bed bugs and scabies (which is a skin infestation caused by a mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei) are also alike in that they feed on human blood; only one does it from outside, and the other from the inside. Bed bugs suck blood as they sit atop the skin, while scabies burrow under the skin to feed and lay eggs. Unfortunately, scabies are tiny, and virtually invisible, eight-legged mites (related to spiders and ticks),
which means you can’t see them with the naked eye.
If your doctor determines that the marks on your baby are bed bug bites it should come as no surprise that they are your first warning that these pests have invaded baby’s bedroom and perhaps the entire house! Bed bugs usually like to bite those areas of skin that are exposed during sleep, typically the shoulders, arms, legs, back and face.
Scabies and Bed Bug Treatment - a Must!
And, as with scabies, so with bed bugs: Without treatment the problem will only get worse. If you don’t take steps to eradicate them the bites will continue to appear as the infestation grows. So, hunt them down immediately!
Signs of Bed Bugs and Scabies
But, back to the unpleasant business of telling bed bug bites and scabies part. Bed bug bites are raised, flat red welts, typically appearing three in a row. Scabies burrows appear as grayish-white, raised lines. They eventually turn into red, inflamed bumps called papules and can fester.
Without treatment, scabies can cause yellow crusting, scaling and skin lesions will take over large patches of your baby’s body as the infestation under the skin grows. Scabies lay between two and three eggs inside the body every day. These mites can then hatch, burrow out of the skin, mate and then burrow back into the skin to lay even more eggs.
Like scabies, not treating your bed bug problem immediately will result in new bites continuing to appear (but generally not worsen in appearance unless infection is present) as the infestation in your home grows. Bed bugs bite skin that is exposed during sleep, especially where the sheet or mattress meets the body. Bites typically occur around the shoulders, arms, legs, back and face.
Scabies prefer to dig into warm, moist folds of skin. They typically burrow between the fingers and toes, in armpits, under nail beds and around the waist and other sensitive areas. First-time scabies victims develop a rash and itching two to six weeks after exposure. Plus, scabies typically produces intense itching, especially at night. This often leads to open sores and infections, though this can happen with bites from either bed bugs or scabies.
What to do next:
Okay. Let’s assume that your doctor has examined your child's skin and has identified the problem as scabies. In most cases of your doctor will probably recommend a topical cream or lotion, such as Permethrin or Crotamiton cream, Sulfur ointment, or perhaps Lindane lotion or cream. Now, unless your doctor gives you other instructions you should follow these steps when you’re using a topical cream, lotion, or ointment:
Apply the salve to your baby’s entire body ̶ from the neck down
Be sure to apply the salve your child's fingernails and toenails
And apply to all your baby’s body folds
If your baby is unlucky enough to have developed a more severe case of scabies, your doctor may prescribe oral medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines or Ivermectin pills. In any event, that terrible itching may take two to three weeks to vanish, since your baby’s immune system will continue to react to dead mites. However, new burrows and rashes should stop appearing 48 hours after treatment.
If it turns out that your baby’s lesions are bed bug bites, and they’re terribly itchy, your doctor may prescribe a strong, topical steroid. The fact is that infants have a hard time not scratching ̶ especially at night. And this can be a problem because scratching can lead to infection, redness, swelling, fever, or painful blisters.
Your doctor may prescribe a topical corticosteroid to help reduce the itching and inflammation on your baby’s skin. And this can be very helpful at night, especially since it can help prevent infection. If you child should happen to develop a blistering skin reaction to the bites (which is actually quite rare), oral corticosteroids may be the order of the day. Likewise, if your baby is unfortunate enough to acquire a bacterial skin infection from scratching, then they may well need oral antibiotics. Your doctor will know best.
And all those other biting pests
It’s worth keeping in mind that there are other troublesome insects that can invade your house, such as mites, fleas, spiders or mosquitoes ̶ and they can all bite. That’s why it’s important that you quickly identify the source of any marks or lesions on your baby’s skin, and your own, for that matter, if you’re unlucky enough to be counted among the “victims.”
There are a number of steps you can take to get rid of bed bugs, scabies, ticks, lice and the like, but more of that later.
We suggest that one of your strongest defenses is Sterifab disinfectant spray, since it’s hands down one of the best ways to get rid of scabies, get rid of bed bugs and get rid of all these other pests. In fact, Sterifab can successfully eliminate bedbugs, lice, fleas, ticks and a host of other insects. It has a number of useful features, since it:
Deodorizes and controls odor-causing organisms
Sanitizes and deodorizes any room
Is one of the few products labeled for use on mattresses and upholstered furniture
Dries in 15-20 minutes, is biodegradable, and leaves no residue
Can be used on everything ̶ except people, animals and cooking utensils
Sterifab can be used to treat practically any inanimate object or location, and there are no other U.S. EPA-registered products that can boast so many uses – viricide, bactericide, sanitizer, insecticide, deodorant, germicide, disinfectant, mildewcide, fungicide, bacteriostatic or fungistatic.
Making Your House Pest Free
It’s hard enough to watch your baby suffer from bed bug bites, to say nothing of scabies, or flea, tick, or lice bites. But now comes the really hard part: Making your house bug free.
As we said, using Sterifab is your first line of defense, but there are a number of other steps you can take if you’re going to get rid of bed bugs and scabies ̶ as well as ticks, lice, or fleas ̶ from your home.
It would take too long to go through all the steps you should take, but we have covered them in other blogs, which you can find here. So, for the moment let’s just focus on making your baby’s room bug free. The following should help you to get rid of mites, get rid of fleas, get rid of scabies, get rid of bed bugs and all the other pests that can threaten your baby’s well-being.
1. Seal the bedroom
Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers (as are ticks) and can infiltrate virtually any dwelling.
The same is true for fleas and mites, so you should quickly seal off all cracks and
Crevices in your baby’s room. Use quick-setting caulk on joints and vents where bugs
can hide and lay their eggs. You should also ensure that seal gaps in light fixtures,
baseboards, doorframes, wall cavities and cracks near the electrical switches.
2. Clean carpets and rugs and floors
Obviously removing carpeting and installing hardwood flooring in its place will
Definitely help in an anti-bug campaign, but for most of us that just isn’t practical ̶
or affordable. Better to treat all the inanimate objects in the room with Sterifab then
vacuum and wipe off every single surface. Of course, make sure that you keep your
baby as far away from the room as possible ̶ for 24 hours at least!
3. Inspect box springs and cribs and mattresses
If your baby’s crib or mattress is heavily infested, you might want to discard them
completely, mattress, or use mattress encasement. But don’t be too hasty. You can
successfully treat any kind of pest infestation if you take all the right steps.
A final thought . . .
After you’ve applied Sterifab and cleaned your baby’s room from top to bottom you should do the same to the rest of you home. Remember, bed bugs, ticks and fleas are great travelers, accomplished in all the ways of infiltration and intrusion. So, as a final effort you might consider cleaning everything in your baby’s room with soapy water ̶ toys, furniture, hard wood floors etc. And, to be doubly sure you should steam clean the carpets and rugs, curtains and upholstered furniture. Better still, have a professional service do it for you!