Do you keep finding itchy red bumps on your body? Is your otherwise healthy dog or cat suddenly getting mangy? Is there something in your yard that keeps biting you and leaving tiny scabs? Then there is a good chance you could be dealing with Mites.
What is a mite? A mite is a member of an incredibly diverse family of tiny arachnids. There are possibly more varieties of mites than there are different kinds of insects. The good news is, most species of mites don’t affect humans. The bad news is, so many of them are so small they can only be seen with a microscope. This can make it difficult to tell if your house is suffering from an infestation, or if the symptoms you are experiencing have another cause.
The most common type of mite, the dust mite, is also, fortunately, one of the safest. Dust mites do not bite humans. The risk associated with dust mites is that their bodies or waste can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. If you suspect you have dust mites, changing your air filter and clearing out any sources of dust should go a long way to neutralizing the problem.
A more dangerous form of mites is scabies. Scabies is caused when mites burrow into your skin, causing an inflamed and itchy rash. Despite the intense itchiness, scratching can lead to further inspection. Scabies can also be very easily passed from one person to another. If you suspect you have scabies, it is recommended that you seek medical help.
In more rural areas, another noteworthy type of mite is chiggers. Chiggers, or more appropriately chigger larvae, attach themselves to the outside of the skin and feed on a host for days. Their bites, although initially painless, become incredibly itchy in a few hours. Chigger larvae can be hard to detect without magnification, and their bites will often look like a blister or a pustule. If bitten by chiggers, washing the infected area with soap and water should be your first step. If itching continues, antihistamines and over-the-counter itching remedies can help ease the discomfort.
Your best friend in the quest to prevent mites is a good, well-functioning vacuum and a decent air filter. A good quality air filter can help clear out dust mites and their residue, reducing the risk of allergic reactions. Almost all other forms of mites can be removed by vacuuming and emptying the bag. The hardest part of dealing with a mite infestation can be simply identifying the problem. Symptoms of mite breakouts can be easily explained by chemical reactions, allergies, other pests, and even psychological reactions. So if you expect your home is infested by mites, seek a professional. They can help you identify any mites that may be taking up residence in your home.