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Important Health Information for Shawnee High School April 4, 2019

We have recently been made aware of a few cases of scabies at Shawnee High School. While the instances have been isolated to a small number of people, we wanted our school community to be aware of the situation. We have taken several precautions to ensure we are dealing with the situation proactively. We have been in contact with the CDC and the Pottawatomie County Health Department to ensure we are following all recommendations.

Scabies is a skin condition caused by mites. It commonly leads to intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The rash may appear as raised tracts, bumps or blisters. Most common sites of infection on the body are between fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, waistline, thighs and genitalia. Itching is most intense at night. 

Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly in areas where there is close physical contact. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms usually take 4-8 weeks to appear after exposure. If a person has had scabies before, symptoms appear after only 1-4 days.

Scabies should be treated with topical creams that can kill the mites. These topical treatments are available by prescription from your healthcare provider. Treatment also is recommended for people who know they have had skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Bedding and clothing worn or used next to the skin any time during the three days before treatment should be machine washed and dried using the hot water and hot dryer cycles. Dry cleaning is also effective. Items that cannot be dry cleaned or laundered can be disinfected by storing in a closed plastic bag for several days to a week. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2-3 days away from human skin.

After a student has been treated with medication prescribed by a healthcare provider, he or she may return to school. A note with a return date from the healthcare provider is required.

The health and safety of our students is our first priority, and we want to keep you informed of anything that might affect your child’s health. If you have any questions, please contact me.

La Rita Haffey, R.N., MSN.ed
Shawnee Public School District Health Nurse Coordinator