Difference Between Flea Bites and Scabies

Flea bites vs Scabies

Flea bites vs Scabies

Bug bites can cause a whole nasty stream of annoyances and itchy skin, but there are two bites in particular that are good to watch out for: flea bites vs scabies. These are commonly confused for one another, so knowing the differences between the two will help you apply the correct treatment and get rid of that pesky red bump or rash.

Fleas are often associated with pets, and while this is true people are also just as susceptible to flea bites. They initially appear similar to mosquito bites, but can quickly develop into hives or rash. ( Are fleas contagious from person to person )
Scabies, on the other hand, is a contagious skin disease caused by mites in which the mite buries itself into the skin, causing itching and rash.

Flea bites vs Scabies

Flea Bites
Flea bites vs Scabies
Flea bites vs Scabies
#1. Flea bites appear in groups of three or four and often form a straight line
#1. Scabies appear in a tunnel or burrow like rash beneath the skin
#2. Small, red bumps and/or red halo surrounding bit
#2. Red bumps or burrow and rashes that lead to intense itching
#3. Usually found on the legs, feet, and ankles as well as waist, armpits, breast, genitals, and crook of elbows and knees
#3. Common spots are between fingers and toes, folds of the wrists, waist, under the breasts or genitals, etc. but can be found anywhere
#4. Fleas do not live on humans; they prefer hairier and warmer environment like pet hair
#4. Scabies mites live on human skin and even lay eggs in it
#5. Fleas can bite anyone, but infestations are common in households with pets
#5. Scabies rashes are more common in children and the elderly; infestations can occur in day cares, hospitals, assisted living facilities etc.
#6. Flea bite rashes are not contagious
#6. Scabies can spread from skin-to-skin contact, direct sexual contact, or contact between family members
#7. Fleas can jump long distances
#7. Scabies mites cannot jump nor fly; they crawl very slowly
Now that you’ve seen the basic difference between flea bites and scabies, it’s time to dissect the specifics for each bite and learn about what treatments are available.

A.Fleas and fleabites

  • Fleas are very small insects, no larger than a pen point. Since they don’t have wings, they get from place to place by jumping (or riding on their host, which is often a household pet).
  • Killing fleas can be difficult due to their flat bodies and hard shells, as well as their sheer numbers. The bites themselves will wear off eventually, so the most effective way to get rid of fleas is to use pesticides.  If you decide to go with the pesticide treatment, you may need to leave your home for a few hours to avoid coming into contact with the fumes.
  • If you have already been bitten and are looking for relief from the itchiness and other symptoms, over-the-counter anti-itch creams, lotions, and antihistamine medications provide soothing treatments. Before applying, it is recommended to first wash the bit and then use an antiseptic followed by application of an icepack. Refraining from scratching the bite area will also keep it from growing worse. If white pockets, rashes, or puss appear in or around the bite, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible
  • When it comes to your pets, be sure to consult a veterinarian before taking any further action. Some ways to get rid of fleas living on your pet include baths with specially formulated shampoos and cold water to reduce inflammation. Your veterinarian may also need to see your pet if no treatments seem to be working, and they may prescribe steroid creams or antihistamines if needed.
  • Treating the bites is only a short-term solution though, and extermination is the only guaranteed alleviation from fleas. Contact your local pest control expert if you or your pet are experiencing flea bites.

B.Scabies: a contagious skin condition

  • While fleas are not contagious, scabies are. In fact, the number-one way scabies is contracted is through hand-to-hand contact. No, this doesn’t mean every time you hold or shake someone’s hand that you will get scabies, although it is good to always take precautions and be aware of what exactly scabies infections are and how to prevent and treat them.
  • Scabies is caused by mites that enter human skin to lay eggs. The mites usually die off after a few weeks, but if left untreated they can cause discomfort, especially if the source of the mites is not dealt with. There are different mites for humans, canines, and felines, and human mites normally don’t affect pets.

Red rash

Intense itching, usually at nighttime

Pimple-like red rash with scales or blisters

Burrow-like track on skin (left behind by mites)

While some of these symptoms overlap with fleabites, the distinctive burrow mark is usually the best way to distinguish between the two, and scabies often causes far worse itching, especially in children and the elderly.
 There are several medications that can be prescribed to treat scabies, including:
  1. Permethrin cream: topical cream containing chemicals that kill scabies mites and eggs. Safe for adults, pregnant women, and children over 2 months old. Not recommended for nursing mothers.
  2. Lindane lotion: chemical treatment recommended for people who can’t tolerate other approved treatments or for whom other treatments don’t work. Not safe for children younger than 2 years old, pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, and anyone weighing less than 110 pounds (50 kilograms).
  3. Crotamiton: available as a cream or lotion and applied once a day for two days. Not recommended for children and pregnant or nursing women.
  4. Ivermectin: oral medication for people with altered immune systems, crusted scabies, or who don’t respond to prescribed lotions and creams. Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women or children who weigh less than 33 pounds (15 kilograms).
These medications do kill mites promptly, but the itching may continue for several weeks.