Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

Loading

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.

Mite infestations are common and are responsible for the intensely itchy rash caused by the bites of chiggers (mite larvae), for scabies, other itchy rashes, and a number of other disorders. The effects on the tissues around the bite vary in severity. In some Asian countries and Australia, chiggers may transmit scrub typhus.

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

  • Grocer's itch (allergic contact dermatitis), which affects people who handle stored grain products, cheese, and other foods

  • Wheezing as a reaction to the waste products of dust mites commonly found in pillows, mattresses, and carpets

Treatment

  • 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
Others also read

Also of Interest

Videos

View All
How to Treat the Choking Conscious Infant
Video
How to Treat the Choking Conscious Infant
3D Models
View All
Patellar Tendon Tear
3D Model
Patellar Tendon Tear

SOCIAL MEDIA

test
iOS Android
iOS Android
iOS Android
TOP