Itchy?n?scratchy

By BELINDA SCOTT

COFFS COAST kids are scratching ? but it's not because mozzies are sinking their teeth in. The culprit is the scabies mite and thousands of her relatives and friends, who have been discovered and 'outed' by one group of Coffs Coast residents after months, and in one case years, of a scratching frenzy. A Coffs Coast mother, who did not wish to be identified, said she and her four-year-old daughter had suffered with the itch for more than four months. "My daughter scratched until she bled and cried at night, and I couldn't sleep," she said. "We traced it back to a friend who had had it for two years. "My daughter managed to infest five kids and five adults before we found out what it was. I'm horrified I didn't know, but the doctor kept saying it was some sort of eczema or allergy and we took antihistamines for more than a month, with no effect." She said a total of five different doctors in two different Coffs Coast towns had failed to diagnose the three women's itching and spotty rash as scabies. "I even asked the doctor if it was a mite or scabies and he said no. I think they were looking at the wrong symptoms," the woman said. She and her daughter finally got relief when they got an appointment with a visiting dermatologist in Coffs Harbour and he found the mites. The female mite is barely visible to the naked eye, but the signs of scabies mites, which tunnel under the skin to lay their eggs, can be seen under strong magnification.n To Page 2



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