Bedbugs and scabies are two pests that feed on human blood, causing very uncomfortable skin rashes. Scabies can be passed from person to person, as the mites live on humans, but scabies can also survive on furniture, clothing and bedding. Bedbugs hide during the day in beds, clothing and furniture, then crawl out at night to find a human host for food. Touching a person's scabies rash can spread scabies; bedbugs can only be spread through household items. You can use most of the same methods to kill both bedbugs and scabies infestations in your home.
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Things you need
- Washing machine
- Laundry detergent
- Large trash bags
- Plastic mattress cover
- Vacuum cleaner
- Sticky traps
- Professional fumigation
- Triple antibiotic ointment
Know the habits and symptoms of bedbugs and scabies. The common bedbug hides during the day in mattresses, furniture, walls, bedding and clothes. Symptoms of bedbug bites are intense itching and raised red blotches on your skin. Symptoms of bedbug infestation are a distinct odour, evidence of feeding sites by the bugs' cast-off skins, brown or rusty-coloured spots that are their fecal matter, or bloodstains on your sheets.
Female scabies lay two to three eggs a day into the skin of the person in which they are burrowing. Once a female has been mated, she is fertile the rest of her life cycle and can continue to lay eggs as she burrows into the skin. Scabies symptoms may not show up for two to six weeks after exposure to them. During this time you are contagious. The rash, which consists of raised white lines, usually appears on the hands and wrist but can be anywhere on the body.
Wash all your household bedding and clothing at the highest temperature possible for both scabies and bedbugs. Place the clean clothing in plastic bags to prevent reinfestation of bedbugs. For scabies, you can place your clothing back in your furniture. If there is an item that can't be washed, put it in the dryer for half an hour at a high temperature. If you can't treat an item in the washing machine or dryer, place it in a sealed garbage bag for two weeks, or take it to be dry-cleaned.
Vacuum all furniture in your bedroom, including dresser drawers, for bedbugs. Lift your mattress, and vacuum underneath it. For scabies, vacuum the bed, couches and chairs that you have recently occupied. For both, vacuum all your carpets and draperies.
Place sticky traps where you think bedbugs may travel to find their daytime hiding spots. If you find their hiding spot, spray them with an insecticide.
Bedbugs do not survive well in the heat. Heat your house up to 45 degrees C (7.22 degrees C Celsius) to kill bedbugs. You should repeat this process in two weeks if possible.
Professional fumigation is often required to kill bedbug infestations.
Kill the scabies that are burrowing into your skin by using a scabicide. Everyone living in your household must be treated, even if they do not have any symptoms. The most common scabicide is Permethrin cream, which kills mites and eggs. Apply the cream on your skin before bedtime, and shower it off in the morning. Repeat the application a week later to kill any new eggs that hatch.
Recognise Bedbugs and Scabies
Tips and warnings
- Use a topical antihistamine to relieve the intense itching of the rash for both scabies and bedbugs. Use a triple antibiotic ointment on both the bedbug bites and scabies rash to prevent infection.
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