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Mite Bites

By

Robert A. Barish

, MD, MBA, University of Illinois at Chicago;


Thomas Arnold

, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Mites, like ticks, are closely related to spiders. Biting mites, sometimes carried as parasites on the bodies of humans and animals, may transmit disease to humans.

Mites that bite come from a variety of sources, including

  • Birds

  • Rodents

  • Cats, dogs (especially puppies), and rabbits

  • Pigs

  • Straw, hay, seeds, and other plant material

Some mites, such as those that cause scabies, bite and burrow under the skin. Demodex mites cause a similar rash (sometimes called mange).

Some mites do not bite, but they cause allergic reactions such as

Treatment of Mite Bites

  • Anti-itch medicines, sometimes antibiotics or application of permethrin or lindane

Corticosteroid creams or antihistamines taken by mouth are used to control itching. Antibiotics taken by mouth are given if mites have burrowed under the skin. Scabies is treated by applying a cream containing permethrin or a solution of lindane. A cream containing a corticosteroid is sometimes used for a few days to reduce itching. If permethrin or lindane is used, it is given before the corticosteroid.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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Test your knowledge

Spider Bites
Bites from which of the following spiders do not cause serious harm to people?
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