How to get mites off human skin

Written by adam watkins | 13/05/2017
How to get mites off human skin
A dust mite as seen under a powerful microscope. (Image by Gabriel Andres Trujillo; Flickr.)

While we commonly associate mites with animals such as dogs, cats and birds, mites can and do infest humans as well. With an estimated 300 million cases worldwide each year, scabies is the most common illness caused by mites. Mite infestation on human skin can cause itching, redness and is extremely contagious.

Call a doctor immediately after identifying mite infestation on your skin. The best treatments to kill mites are permethrin and ivermectin, which are prescription-only medications. It is important to see your GP as soon as possible, because mites can quickly spread to fabrics such as clothes and bedsheets.

Wash all bed materials. Mites can survive without a human host for extended periods of time in sheets and blankets. Washing your bedding thoroughly will lessen the chances of reinfestation after treatment.

Take diphenhydramine to control itching. Diphenhydramine (commonly known as benadryl) is an anti-histamine that can help provide relief from the itching caused by mites burrowing into the skin. This should only be taken as instructed by the manufacturer. Be sure to inform your doctor before taking diphenhydramine if you are taking any other medications to avoid any drug interactions.

If standard treatments fail, the doctor may prescribe a 1 per cent lindane lotion.This should only be done after all other methods of mite treatment have been exhausted. Lindane is an effective scabicide, however it is dangerous as it can cause seizures if it is absorbed into the skin. Lindane should not be used on wet skin, or open sores, and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

Things you need

  • Diphenhydramine (benadryl)
  • 1 per cent lindane lotion

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