Return to school after scabies treatment

Scabies can only be cured with prescription creams, lotions, or pills. Nonprescription medicines are not strong enough to kill the mites. If your child has scabies or has been exposed to scabies, carefully follow your doctor's instructions for using the medicine.

If treatment with permethrin or lindane has successfully killed the mites, your child can return to day care or school after you have completed the last step of treatment, which is washing the medicine off your child's skin. Treatment with sulfur ointment takes a series of days of applying the cream and washing it off to kill all the mites.

  • Permethrin is washed off 8 to 14 hours after it is applied.
  • Crotamiton is washed off 48 hours after the last application.
  • Sulfur is washed off 24 hours after the last application.
  • Lindane is washed off after 8 hours.

A person treated with ivermectin pills for scabies is usually not contagious after a day or two.

Symptoms of itching and skin tenderness often remain for several weeks after successful treatment. This does not mean your child still has scabies. But if you are unsure whether you have killed all the mites, talk to your doctor before letting your child go back into a group setting.

In addition to using medicine to kill scabies mites, be sure to launder all clothes and bedding that your child has used during the past 4 days. Wash and dry them at high temperatures or dry-clean them. Any items that can't be laundered should be kept in an airtight plastic bag for at least 7 days.

Last Updated: March 30, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.