There are almost as many species of mites as there are insects. Mites are arthropods. Many mites do not harm humans. Oftentimes when mite activity is suspected, there are no mites in the area. Biting mites include itch mites, rodent mites, bird mites, chiggers, and scabies mites.
Mite Bites are very small compared to other insect bites. Mite bites can cause itching and red marks. These mites do not live long on humans, and cannot survive long indoors. These mites climb onto people and cut into the skin. They do not suck blood. Instead, they inject an enzyme that digests skin. Chiggers can stay lodged in the skin for multiple days. Their bites cause inflammation, hardening, and itchiness. Topical creams containing hydrocortisone can reduce itchiness, and other creams with antibacterial chemicals, such as bacitracin, can reduce the risk of secondary infection. Pesticides are available for rodent, itch, and bird mites. DEET is the best repellent against chiggers.
Scabies are the most common mite problem. Scabies actually burrow up to 1 cm into the skin, where they lay eggs. These mites are transferred through prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Scabies symptoms most often surface during the night, and include severe itching and irritation. Scabies infestations spread quickly and should be treated immediately. Seek professional help immediately. Only prescribed medications are available. Those who live in the same house as scabies victims should also seek treatment.
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