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How Do I Choose the Best Treatment for Mites?

The best treatment for mites is a combination of extreme heat, insecticides, and cortisone.
Washing clothes in hot water and drying them in a clothes dryer should kill any mites.
Cat with mange.
Vets using ear drops to treat a dog with ear mites.
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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2014
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The best treatment for mites is a combination of extreme heat, insecticides, and cortisone. Additionally, thick soap lather and control of pet infestations or outdoor animal infestations can also help in treating mites. In choosing a treatment for mites, a person first considers the kind of mite infestation. Scabies mites, chiggers, dust mites and spider mites most commonly agitate humans and animals. A type of arachnid, mites come in more than 25,000 species—most need hosts, whether it be human, animal, or plant.

The mites that cause scabies, a skin condition characterized by the proliferation of tiny red blisters on thickened skin, cannot be seen with the naked eye. Most people only seek treatment for mites of this type after noticing a rash and incessant itching. This mite prefers to live on pets like dogs and cats; they can also live on birds. They are known for hitchhiking on humans after jumping from animals.

Adult scabies mites do not stay alive long on humans and will soon depart without treatment. The itching is more of a problem. Doctors typically prescribe an ointment with cortisone to sooth itching from scabies mites. Treatments for mites that cause scabies also involve killing any mites hiding in clothing. Heating and disinfecting clothing with a temperature exceeding 125° Fahrenheit (51° Celsius), a temperature that can be achieved by using a washing machine and clothing dryer, will generally kill any mites.

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To truly be rid of the critters that cause scabies, pet owners should have their dogs and cats evaluated by a veterinarian who can determine if they have a mite infestation. One sign of a pet infestation is mange. In addition to pets, animals that hang around the perimeter of the house, such as birds frequenting feeders or birdbaths, can also invite mites into domestic environments. Removing any food or hiding places for such animals is another way some people avoid scabies mites.

Chiggers are the larvae of scabies-causing mites. They can attach to the skin and live on top of human skin for half a week. Soaping up the skin with a thick lather, particularly from soaps containing tea tree oil, can rid areas like hands, ankles, elbows and even the groin from chiggers. Since chiggers feed by infecting saliva beneath the skin, when the chiggers fall off after three or four days, itching from the saliva can remain. Cortisone can provide relief in this case.

Dust mites don’t live on humans but do eat the dead skin cells that are sloughed off the human body. These microscopic aggravators live in dust and debris that accumulate around the home, often causing asthma, dripping nasal passages, and irritated eyes. A treatment for mites that thrive in dust includes simply dusting and vacuuming twice a week or more. Doctors can also prescribe allergy medications if symptoms remain after the dust has been removed.

Spider mites are typically only a nuisance to humans, as they prefer plant hosts. A treatment for mites infesting gardens and greenhouses includes removing affected plants and checking remaining plants for mite eggs that have been attached to the underside of leaves. Horticulturalists also recommend watering plants often since spider mites seek dry plants.

Insecticides can be used to kill all manner of mites. Some doctors even prescribe insecticides that can be sprayed directly on skin to skill both scabies and chiggers. Physicians usually do not recommend that humans spray common household pesticides on the body.

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