In the case of both mites and fleas, many types don’t bite or cause any harm to humans. But there are some varieties with bites that can produce itchy rashes or other skin reactions, allergies, or more serious health complications.
“The skin might be very itchy or red for a few days, but then that will taper off,” Merchant says of mite bites. Ice and anti-itch creams like hydrocortisone can help control the swelling and itching. But those symptoms should resolve within a week, he says. (Nearly all species of biting house mites cannot live on human beings, and so they don’t “infest people,” he adds.)
Flea bites, like scabies can be itchy. Some people are known to develop hives or allergic reactions that can lead to secondary skin sores.
- Everything You Need to Know About Mite and Flea Bites
- Flea Bites vs Scabies – How Are They Different
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- What Are Mites, and Do They Bother Humans?
- What Bit Me? Spot These 12 Bug Bites
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Everything You Need to Know About Mite and Flea Bites
Fleas are ectoparasites associated with pets. However, in absence of pets, fleas can bite humans. Often a comparison between flea bites vs scabies results in their being mistaken for each other. However, unlike scabies mites, fleas do not live on the human hosts. Fleas prefer warmer, hairier environments like pet hair. Fleas generally bite humans and jump off to hide in carpets, under the rugs, furniture etc. They leave a tell tale rash on the human skin, particularly in people with sensitivity to proteins in flea saliva. The flea bites appearance is distinctive and includes:
There is one outlier: scabies. These mites infest a person’s skin in order to lay eggs and feed, and are usually only passed by direct person-to-person contact. (4) Like other mites, scabies tend to cause an itchy, pimply red rash. But unlike other mites, those rashes will continue to appear unless the person gets medical treatment, usually a prescription-only skin cream or lotion designed to kill scabies.
Among outdoor mites, the only type that frequently bites people is the chigger. The word “chigger” applies to a particular species of mite that bites during its larval stage of development, and their bite produces an intensely itchy red welt, Merchant explains. “There are not too many other mite problems outdoors,” he adds.
Flea Bites vs Scabies – How Are They Different
Mites are arthropods, not insects, and are close cousins with spiders and ticks. (1) Most types of mites feed on other insects or on dead plant and animal material. (Dust mites, for example, feed mostly on dead skin cells.)
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Despite what you may have heard or read online, home mite infestations are fairly rare and tend to be much less of an issue than people assume, says Mike Merchant, PhD, a former professor of entomology at Texas A&M University in Dallas. “A lot of the mite stuff on the internet makes it sound like [a mite infestation is] the end of the world, but it’s not,” he says.
When comparing flea bites vs scabies, it is important to note that there are marked differences between the two. Scabies is a contagious skin condition that is typically caused by human scabies mites (or sometimes by feline or canine mites). Fleas, on the other hand, are ectoparasites that can also lead to intensely itchy rashes in humans and pets. In this guide, we shall study the primary differences between flea bites vs scabies and the ways of telling them apart.
Here’s a description of each type of bug, and what you need to know about the effects their bites can have on your health.
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What Are Mites, and Do They Bother Humans?
Mite bites can cause skin lumps and rashes and, occasionally, more serious reactions, Dr. Merchant says.
Scabies infections are caused by parasites or mites belonging to Genus Sarcoptes. These parasites enter human skin to lay eggs. The mites generally die off after a few weeks, but they continue to cause discomfort to humans, particularly if the source (canine/feline scabies) is left untreated. Human scabies mites normally do not affect pets.
But there are a few types that bite or affect people: (2,3)
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What Bit Me? Spot These 12 Bug Bites
When it comes to indoor mites that bite or cause health issues, Merchant says most spring from animal nests. “Some mites will infest the nests of birds and rats and mice, and when they become abundant, they’ll leave that site and sometimes wander into the house and bite people,” he explains. In most cases, the bites of these mites cause an itchy skin rash, which may feature small lumps or pimples.
Often, there is a comparison between flea bites vs scabies rashes. But, telling them apart is easy since scabies is characterized by a relentless itch, which is worst in kids and elderly.