Sample Technical Definition

Audience and Purpose

The following definition was written for the parents of elementary school children to acquaint the parents with the symptoms, causes, and treatment of scabies.

Introduction and Cause

Recently, a student in your child's class developed scabies (also called "the itch"). This is a very contagious skin disease caused by a mite (a tiny insect) that lives in human skin tissue. The presence of this mite can cause itching. If left untreated, scabies can cause blisters and infection. In extreme forms, it can cause scaling of the skin and scarring.

Expansion Techniques

Operating Principle

The tiny mite likes to settle in skin folds such as the groin area, behind the ears, and between fingers and toes. It digs tunnels in which it lays its eggs. When the eggs hatch, the mites quickly reach maturity, burrow more tunnels and lay more eggs. The cycle continues unless all the mites are killed.

The first signs of scabies may be mild itching. The itching is stronger at night. If left untreated, scabies will advance to a second stage in which the mites' burrows appear as light, raised lines on the skin. The third stage is blisters at the edges of the tunnels. Serious infection can occur at this point.


Despite a popular belief, scabies is not a problem of poor hygiene (although that fosters the mite population's growth). Rather, the disease is transmitted by direct skin contact with a person carrying the mites. For that reason, family members of a contaminated person often contract the disease as well.


To treat the disease, the first thing to do is visit your family physician. He or she will prescribe a lotion to help eliminate the mite. Scrub the contaminated person with warm, soapy water and rinse well to expose the mite burrows. Once the person is dry, apply the lotion. Clothing, towels, bed linens, and utensils should be kept separate and disinfected. Treatment takes from ten days to two weeks.


If you think your child has contracted scabies, please follow our advice. Contact the school nurse's office at 555-4397 if you have any questions or if you need to report that your child has contracted the disease.

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