Sarcoptic mites, the creatures responsible for mange in cats and dogs, are also a pest in humans. When they infect pets, they may be called ear mites, since the edges of the ears are the most obvious points of damage. Humans rarely get mite infestations in the ears. Instead, they exhibit infection by these "ear mites" as a reddish skin rash. This rash is called scabies, and can be extremely uncomfortable.
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Examine the skin around your ears and on other parts of your body. Scabies manifests as red bumps, blisters and itchy spots. You may need to use a mirror to look at some parts of your body.
Look for burrows. Sarcoptic mites live under the skin, and burrow from one bump to the next. These burrows usually look like thin red, brown or grey lines a few millimetres long. They can be hard to see, and are destroyed by scratching.
Talk to a doctor. If you suspect you have a mite infestation, don't put off talking to a medical professional. He or she can help you determine whether or not you really have mites. You'll need to get appropriate treatment to kill the mites and stop the itching.
Tips and warnings
- Sarcoptic mites on pets are not the same kind of mites that infests humans, but they can cause short-term itching and welts. Most cases of mites are acquired from other humans, not from pets.
- Be sure to clean your bedding and other objects the mites can hide in to prevent reinfestation.
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