Mite refers to a group of insect-like organisms that are parasites or scavengers. There are many different types of mites, most of which never come into contact with humans. But some do bite or irritate humans and can adversely affect the health of their victims. Mites very rarely transmit diseases, but at a minimum they can be a nuisance and can cause serious skin irritations.
Types of Mites
A mite that can cause problems for people is the house dust mite. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health website, most people diagnosed with allergies to house dust are actually allergic to these small (invisible to the naked eye) creatures. Another such creature, the itch mite, preys upon insects but humans can be bitten if they come into contact with straw or grasses that harbour these bugs. The bites leave itchy red marks that look like a skin rash.
Rodent and bird mites prefer their namesake hosts, but will bite people if a rodent or bird is unavailable. These bites often cause a skin rash in humans. Another mite that attacks humans is the chigger mite. Chiggers actually cut into the skin and inject skin-digesting saliva so they can then suck up the liquefied skin. The area on the skin then becomes inflamed, hardens and itches. The scabies mite is another common mite that infests humans. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the scabies is the most common and important condition in humans resulting from a mite infestation. These bugs burrow into the skin and lay eggs. They can cause severe itching and rashes in their human host.
To determine the appropriate treatment for a mite problem, an individual will need to find the true cause of the skin irritation. Thoroughly inspect areas where exposure may have occurred. Unfortunately, mites are very small so may not be found. Thus the next step is to consult a physician. She will be able to help diagnose the skin condition by scraping the area affected and examining these scrapings for evidence of mites.
Your physician will suggest pesticide treatments if you have scabies. She will tell you to soften the skin by bathing to allow proper penetration of the treatment. Follow this with the topical pesticide application. Some products used to treat this mite infestation include lindate, permethrin or crotamiton. If the rash proves to be due to the chigger mite, a soapy bath followed by application of a topical antiseptic ointment may be all that is needed. If itching is bothersome, a person may use a local anesthetic to obtain some relief. The treatment for chigger bites is also used for dust and rodent/bird mite bites. All of these mites, however, also need to be removed to prevent continuous bites and health issues.
Vacuuming is an important part of eliminating mites. Some rodent and bird mites can be removed just by vacuuming alone. It can also help with other mites. All bedding, draperies and upholstery should be washed in hot water and then regularly cleaned. Some mites can be excluded by sealing entry points. Chiggers can be repelled by using insect repellents with 7 per cent to 30 per cent DEET in the grassy areas around the home. Regular mowing and weed removal also discourages some mites. Prevention of mite infestations is based on regular maintenance of your home.