Mites and Lice
Most people are familiar with Dust mites and the common lice, while the dust mite does not acutally attack humans, there are many mites that can 'bite'.
Most lice are scavengers, feeding on skin and other debris found on the host's body, but some species feed on sebaceous secretions and blood. Most are found only on specific types of animal, and, in some cases, only to a particular part of the body. For example, in humans, different species of louse inhabit the scalp and pubic hair. Lice generally cannot survive for long if removed from their host. Head lice, also called pediculus humanus capitis, is the most common type of lice. Hair lice are parasitic insects that are found on people’s heads. Having head lice is very common. It is estimated that 6-12 million people in the USA get head lice every year.
Sarcoptes scabiei are mites that infest mammals, including man. Most human infestations result from person-to-person contact. Although they can transfer from animals to humans and vice versa, several types of scabies mites exist, each having a preferred host species on which it reproduces. The entire life cycle (10-17 days for human-infesting scabies mites) is spent on their host. Without a host, they survive only a few days.
Other mites like the red chigger mite and other mites like bird mites will only bite when disturbed in their environment eg if you walk through grass or pick up a dead bird.
Adult female lice lay eggs, called nits. These nits are firmly attached to the base of the hair shaft, closest to the scalp. The nits are often confused for dandruff. After a week or so, the nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. Nymph’s look like adult louses, but are smaller. They become an adult in 10 days, and as an adult live for about 30 days. To live, nymphs and adult lice must feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person and cannot feed, it will die within 2 days.
A louse's color varies from pale beige to dark gray; however, if feeding on blood, it may become considerably darker. Female lice are usually more common than the males, and some species are even known to be parthenogenetic. A louse's egg is commonly called a nit. Many lice attach their eggs to their host's hair with specialized saliva; the saliva/hair bond is very difficult to sever without specialized products. Living lice eggs tend to be pale white. Dead lice eggs are more yellow. They crawl fast (up to 12 inches or 30 cm per hour – that's fast if you're the size of a sesame seed!) but do not fly or jump. An adult louse can be up to 1/8 inch (3 mm) in size and is pale grey or brown.
Scabies is the most common and important condition resulting from mite infestation of humans. Unlike other mites, scabies mites actually burrow up to 3cm into the skin to lay eggs. The mites are believed to feed on skin and secretions. In previously unexposed individuals, a scabies infestation may go unnoticed for more than a month. Then, severe irritation and itching develops, especially at night.
Mites cause several forms of allergic diseases, including hay fever, asthma and eczema and are known to aggravate atopic dermatitis. Mites are usually found in warm and humid locations, including beds. It is thought that inhalation of mites during sleep exposes the human body to some antigens that eventually induce hypersensitivity reaction. Dust mite allergens are thought to be among the heaviest dust allergens.
Symptoms of dust mite allergy in humans develop through breathing and touching waste products of the mites. Dust mite allergies develop from exposure to proteins present in dust mite excretions. Dust mite allergies cause inflammation of the nasal passages and may contribute to asthma, which may result in a number of symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of dust mite allergies can last as long as the exposure to the mites. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate exposure to this insect. The allergy symptoms vary among individuals. Some people have no symptoms at all; whereas others may have runny or stuffy nose, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, which may pose a risk of more serious breathing problems and infection. Left untreated, dust mite allergies may lead to severe asthma and respiratory distress or failure.
Most people react to chigger bites by developing reddish welts within 24 hours. Intense itching accompanies the welts, which may persist for a week or longer if not treated. Bites commonly occur around the ankles, waistline, armpits, or other areas where clothing fits tightly against the skin. Besides causing intense itching, chigger bites that are scratched may result in infection and sometimes fever. Chiggers in North America are not known to transmit disease.
The main symptom is an itchy head (caused by the louse's saliva when it removes a tiny amount of blood from the scalp),
seeing red bumps on the scalp and neck that can become infected if repeatedly scratched.
seeing live lice moving around on the head
finding nits (lice eggs), which are tiny white oval shaped specks that are attached to the sides of hairs.
Frequent feeling of something moving in their hair.
To determine whether you are allergic to dust mites, you will be asked questions about your symptoms and when they occur.
Scabies is diagnosed by the presence of typical mite burrows or through microscopic examination of skin scrapings for the presence of mites, their eggs or faeces. There are many causes of itching besides scabies, so diagnosis needs to be done by a health professional such as a GP or dermatologist.
“Look on the back of the head, in a line from one ear to the other,” she suggests. Nits, or louse eggs, do not move. They are oval and tan, yellow or brown. After they hatch, the shell that is left behind is clear or grayish-white. Nits are found about a quarter-inch (one cm) from the scalp. The nits are firmly glued to the hair shaft by the adult louse. Nits are most commonly found around the nape of the neck or behind the ears, although they can be found all over the scalp.
If you are just seeing nits, but no live lice, then you may be able to simply wash the hair with a regular shampoo and then try to remove the nits using a nit comb. Keep in mind that live lice can sometimes be hard to find, so if you continue to find new nits, then you likely have an active lice infestation and it does need further treatment.
If the 'white stuff' is simply dandruff and is on the scalp and not on the hair shafts, then you may not have head lice at all.
Scabies: make a mixture of 50ml Neem oil, 20ml Lavender oil, 20ml Tea Tree oil, 100ml Witch hazel, 100ml coconut oil. You can either put this mixture on by itself.
Or mix it with some Turmeric to make a paste and put on the spots. Note: this will color your skin yellow!
The itchiness associated with scabies can often take several weeks to stop completely following treatment. Continued itching during this period does not necessarily mean that the scabies treatment has failed.
Dust Mites: don't bite us but we inhale them as they float in the ever present dust in our homes. The mucus in our lungs traps them and in a few days they die, only to release a drove of Adenoviruses (common cold virus) in us.
Do a steam with essenial oils of thyme, cinnamon and clove to help with congestion and clear inflammation.
Use 1 tsp of turmeric 3x day as anti-inflammatory as well as very high dosages of vitamin C up to 10gr per day.
Infestations of clover mites, rodent and bird mites in and around structures can sometimes be eliminated by vacuuming alone. Vacuuming may be less effective, but still of value, in controlling various food mites, straw itch mites and dust mites. Note that dust mites are not prevalent in ductwork; therefore, duct cleaning is not recommended for dust mite control.
Moisture control also can be important. Mites transfer air and water through their body walls and are subject to desiccation at low humidity. Dust mite populations, for example, suffer when a relative humidity of 50 percent or less is maintained. On the other hand, high humidity can cause mite populations to increase exponentially.
Medicated lice shampoos are often ineffective and may cause brain damage in children if left on head even ten minutes longer than manufacturer's recommended time. This Recipe costs much less, is completely safe, and will kill all lice on the head as well as their nits (eggs). Plus it's a great conditioner!
1tablespoon Neem Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Rosemary oil, 1/2 teaspoon Lavender oil, 1/2 teaspoon Tea Tree Oil, 1/4 teaspoon Rose Geranium oil
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients together. Saturate hair completely with Mixture. Be sure to work the mixture in the hair and roots well. Hair MUST be extremely greasy from the mayonnaise to prevent lice from breathing.
Wrap hair as tightly as possible with Handi-Wrap (or a shower cap), then wrap with a towel.
Allow to remain on head for at least one hour. Two hours will guarantee all the lice are dead. During this time take all pillow cases, towels, blankets, sheets and clothes that have come into contact with any lice-infested hair and run them through the washing machine and dryer.
Shampoo hair thoroughly. Rinse hair with White Vinegar, then rinse clean with water. Comb hair with a nit comb if desired. No nits should survive this treatment if done properly.
Whatever treatment you choose, you will still need to use a special fine-tooth comb to comb through wet hair and remove all the nits. Comb every three or four days for two weeks.
In addition to lice treatment, all household members should be checked for lice and nits. Also, the infected persons bed linens and clothing should be washed in hot water. Non-washable items like stuffed animals should be put in plastic bags for 2 weeks, and then opened outside. Combs, brushes and hair accessoriesshould be soaked in alcohol or hot water for 5 minutes. The water should be at least 131°F or 55°C.
Like most of the other types of allergy, treatment of mite allergy starts with avoidance.
- Cover mattresses with plastic covers.
- Use throws on easy chairs and sofas and wash them often.
- Never allow a pet into the bedroom or the dust will have tapeworm eggs as well as mites. Throw out rugs that have been pet-beds.
- Spray the air with a mist of 50% grain alcohol before vacuuming.
- If you have an illness wear a mask to vacuum.
- Deep, soft, wall to wall carpets compromise an ancient concept: everything should be washable and cleanable, without throwing the dirt into the air for humans to inhale.
- Vacuuming a carpet blasts mites and tape eggs into the air unless you have a very good HEPA filter in the vacuum. Never shake bedding or rugs where the dust will blow back into the house behind you.
- Regular washing of mattresses and blankets with hot water can help in this regard
- a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can be installed to help prevent airborne allergens, including dust mite particles.
- Well-ventilated homes in dry climates contain few dust mites. Homes with a relative humidity that consistently rises above 50 percent can contain more than 100 dust mites per gram of dust. To reduce dust mite numbers, a relative humidity of less than 50 percent must be maintained for several weeks. Any fluctuation in humidity, however brief, seems sufficient for dust mites to remain and reproduce. Daily activities such as air-conditioning and showering, will cause humidity levels to fluctuate in portions of the home. Thus, other means of controlling dust mites should be employed in addition to humidity control.
- wear protective closing in mite infested areas
- use a insect repellant
Simply put, you can do everything right and your family could still end up with lice. And of course, head lice have nothing to do with hygiene or income level; anyone can get them.
The most common route of transmission is head to head contact, such as two kids bending over the same coloring book. Because lice can't live long off the scalp, it's much harder, but not impossible, for lice to be spread by sharing hats, brushes, hair accessories and combs. So, it's a good idea not to share these items.
Young children, ages 3-10, and their families are most often infested. Girls get lice more often then boys, and women more often than men.
Head lice only live for a matter of hours off the scalp, and require temperatures warmer than room temperature to hatch.
Pets can't get or transmit head lice.