What are scabies mites and why should you get rid of them?
The human scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabei, sometimes known as the human itch mite) is the only arthropod in Australia known that can infest human skin and cause a clinical syndrome. This mite species is found worldwide and only parasitises humans. It lives under the skin and cause a condition that is known as scabies. The mites are very small (less than 0.5 mm long), and they can be wingless, straw coloured and oval shaped, without eyes and short thick legs. All immature stages are very similar to the adult mites, except the larvae which have six legs and the two stages of nymphs which have eight legs.
More about Scabies Mites
The scabies mites dig burrows to get under the skin and are able to make tunnels through the upper layers of the skin using an enzyme that dissolves human skin. They do not need blood to survive but rather eat the skin inside the tunnels. Their life cycle lasts around 10 to 17 days. They mate on the skin surface and mated females quickly burrow into the skin.
Typically, one mite lives in each tunnel and rarely leaves it. The scabies mite lays individual eggs and leaves them behind at a rate of 3 eggs per day. A female mite is able to lay 40 eggs during its lifetime. The egg hatches in 48 hours and the immature mites dig their way to the surface. In most cases, patients have a mite population of less than 20 female mites.
Why is a scabies mites infestation dangerous to your health?
Most scabies infestation are hard to diagnose in their early stages because as long as one month is needed for noticeable symptoms to develop. First symptoms occur only after the host has been sensitised and has developed an allergic reaction to their faeces, skin moults and saliva or the fluids that are present in the tunnels. The tunnels can be pale grey and threadlike that often follow the natural creases in the skin such as the case is with hands, especially areas between the fingers, elbows, genitals, breasts and wrists.
Large areas of our bodies can become affected with rash that is not associated with their tunnels but is an allergic reaction with their activity. Patients can feel severe itching and irritation across their whole bodies and that feeling usually increases during the night. The scabies mites are not associated with the transmission of diseases. Crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies is a term that describes the extreme infestation of thousands of scabies mites.
What are some first aid treatments for scabies mites?
The presence of scabies mites needs to be confirmed by a general practitioner before any treatment can begin. Skin scrapings are often needed before a diagnosis can be made and these need to be taken from a point of bleeding and examined under a microscope to check and confirm there is an infestation. There is a new alternative to skin scrapings such as video dermatoscopy which is a noninvasive test used to determine the presence of mites, their eggs and faces using a camera that magnifies the skin. Once the diagnosis has been made, scabies infestations are usually easy to control with topical scabicides which are insecticides registered to be used on people skin.
What are the common problems associated with scabies mites?
Some mites can bite humans, and these bites usually occur around the armpits, ankles, and areas where clothing rubs tightly against the skin. Some mite species can cause very painful bites, and some bites can be unnoticed, but all that bites result in itchy red marks or rashes. Intense itching and scratching may lead to infection, which can cause a large problem to you. Symptoms will be usually developed within a day and may last as long as a week. Scabies mites may cause persistent, intensely itchy rashes. Reason why that is so is because the pests burrow into the skin to breed and then emerges to feed on flesh. Bites from chiggers and scabies mites can cause more serious problem such as diseases transmitting to humans and livestock.
Mites can also cause disadvantages without biting. People with dust allergies are usually also allergic to dust mites that live in carpets and furniture. Mite carcasses and feces can become airborne and people can inhale it. This will cause stuffy noses, watery eyes, and sneezing of individuals with dust allergies. Additionally, herbivorous mites, like eriophyid and spider mites, can harm crops and cause some economic losses, such as grains and other organic products.
What are the signs of a scabies mites infestation?
Most mites are invisible to the naked eye, so infestations can be difficult to detect until the pests become a big problem. Usually, homeowners notice mite infestations when allergies feel worse after waking up or if they notice small red welts or rashes on the skin. However, it is important to say that allergy reactions and welts may not necessarily be caused by mites. If your pet excessively itches, maybe it has mites. Sores and red bumps from biting and scratching of the area can be another sign that your pet has mites. Adult mites are often visible, and you can notice them when they move on the surface of infested plants or some product.
How can you prevent scabies mites?
You can mow your lawn and remove weeds regularly to prevent bringing outdoor mites indoor. You can also keep leaf litter on a fair distance from your house and keep your pets clean. These advices will also help you to reduce the occurrence of mites. If you perform outdoor activities in wooded areas, such as hiking, trail biking, or sightseeing, our advice is that you need to wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
To prevent the occurrence of mites in your home, you must practice regular cleaning. This usually includes dusting surfaces and vacuuming carpets, but give extra attention to the bedrooms, because dust mites commonly live on or near mattresses. Our advice is that you need to wash linens and sheets in hot water every two weeks, and also try to keep the humidity level below 50% in the bedroom. People with particularly severe allergies to dust mites can consider purchasing antimicrobial mattresses, mattress encasements, and pillow covers.
Why should you book a professional pest control team to stop scabies mites?
Scabies mites are often transmitted by physical contact between people, especially during sexual contact and sharing the bed. Mites live up to three days away from their host and present a serious problem in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia where up to 50% of population is infected in some communities. Improvements in hygiene and treatment have successfully lowered infestation rates but they still continue in these communities.
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