How to Tell If a Human Has Ear Mites, Healthfully

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How to Tell If a Human Has Ear Mites

Sarcoptic mites, the creatures responsible for mange in cats and dogs, are also a pest in humans 1. When they infect pets, they may be called ear mites, since the edges of the ears are the most obvious points of damage. Humans rarely get mite infestations in the ears. Instead, they exhibit infection by these “ear mites” as a reddish skin rash. This rash is called scabies, and can be extremely uncomfortable.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Examine the skin around your ears and on other parts of your body. Scabies manifests as red bumps, blisters and itchy spots. You may need to use a mirror to look at some parts of your body.

Look for burrows. Sarcoptic mites live under the skin, and burrow from one bump to the next. These burrows usually look like thin red, brown or gray lines a few millimeters long. They can be hard to see, and are destroyed by scratching.

Talk to a doctor. If you suspect you have a mite infestation, don’t put off talking to a medical professional. He or she can help you determine whether or not you really have mites. You’ll need to get appropriate treatment to kill the mites and stop the itching.

Sarcoptic mites on pets are not the same kind of mites that infests humans, but they can cause short-term itching and welts. Most cases of mites are acquired from other humans, not from pets.


Be sure to clean your bedding and other objects the mites can hide in to prevent reinfestation.

Sarcoptic mites, the creatures responsible for mange in cats and dogs, are also a pest in humans. When they infect pets, they may be called ear mites, since the edges of the ears are the most obvious points of damage. Scabies manifests as red bumps, blisters and itchy spots.

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Human Ear Parasites Causing Pain

Parasites are tiny organisms that attach themselves to larger organisms, such as human organs, in order to live. Parasites live off the nutrients provided by their host and leave behind waste and toxins, which may not only cause pain, but also create more devastating health consequences if left untreated. Ears are one of the most vulnerable host organs because they offer easy access, yet may go undetected because infestations mimic common ear infection symptoms.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Most ear parasites are not really classified as parasites at all, meaning they don’t meet all the requirements of the genus. True parasites, for all practical purposes, complete their life cycle attached to the host—growing, reproducing, then dying. The majority of ear parasites fall into the predatory insect category, which have a limited life span. The most common of these is the mite, which feeds on blood and leaves behind fecal matter that causes an allergic reaction in most humans. It is the allergic reaction that causes pain, swelling and itching in the ear rather than the bite itself. While animals may suffer from specific ear mites, it is uncommon for humans to contract them but, should it occur, they are considered harmless.


Ticks, which may find their way to the ear during outdoor activities, not only feed on blood, but they also transmit other bacteria that can spread through the human circulation system, causing neurological damage, such as Lyme disease. Ticks are not particular to where they burrow to feed and are hard to detect in an orifice such as the ear. While there may be no topical symptoms indicating the presence of a tick, if it carries the Lyme disease bacteria, symptoms can include severe muscle aches and fatigue.


Less commonly found, but still a pain-causing and potentially harmful parasite found in the ear is fly eggs 1. Many species of flies lay eggs on humans that can develop into parasitic larvae such as the human bot and primary screwworm. While the fly itself does not attach itself to human organs, its eggs, when developed to the larvae stage, may crawl through the ear opening and burrow into the ear’s warm tissue. The cattle grub is also a type of fly maggot that resides on the hairs of a host, including human ear hairs, but is relatively harmless and not painful.


The most common symptoms of an ear parasite are itching and swelling of either the inside or outside of the ear 1. These symptoms can be caused by a parasite biting or feeding on the blood of the skin surrounding the ear or the organs inside the ear or as a result of an allergic reaction to its fecal matter 1. The ear may turn red and become inflamed or swollen as the irritation continues or from excessive scratching of the infected area.

In some cases, the bite from a parasitic insect such as a chigger may cause a welt or rash that is left behind once the parasite has departed 1. In parasitic larvae or maggots, it may take up to a year to experience symptoms, which could range anywhere from a rash to an open wound to intense pain as the larvae mature inside human tissue.


Most of the common parasite conditions, such bites from mites and chiggers, can be treated with creams and lotions to ease the symptoms 1. Some mite infestations need to be treated with a delousing chemical. For the most part, antihistamine or anti-itch ointments prescribed by a doctor are the only treatment needed 2.

For more invasive parasite infections, such as ticks and various larvae, extraction and antibiotic treatment are needed, depending on the bacteria transmitted by the parasite 1. Only a doctor who specializes in parasitic medicine can determine the extent of infection and needed treatment in the instance of ticks and larvae that can spread to other parts of the body, including the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tracts 2.

Parasites are tiny organisms that attach themselves to larger organisms, such as human organs, in order to live. Ticks, which may find their way to the ear during outdoor activities, not only feed on blood, but they also transmit other bacteria that can spread through the human circulation system, causing neurological damage, such as Lyme disease. The cattle grub is also a type of fly maggot that resides on the hairs of a host, including human ear hairs, but is relatively harmless and not painful. These symptoms can be caused by a parasite biting or feeding on the blood of the skin surrounding the ear or the organs inside the ear or as a result of an allergic reaction to its fecal matter. Some mite infestations need to be treated with a delousing chemical. For more invasive parasite infections, such as ticks and various larvae, extraction and antibiotic treatment are needed, depending on the bacteria transmitted by the parasite.

Causes Of Demodex Mites In Humans: Symptoms And Natural Remedies

Demodex mites are tiny parasitic creatures present on skin surface and in hair follicles of animals and human beings. This mite can live in the hair follicle of all warm blooded animals. Normally they do not cause any symptoms, but when immune system is suppressed they produce rash, itching and other symptoms on skin surface.

Among the 65 species of demodex, only two are found in human hair follicle and skin. They are demodex folliculorum and demodex brevis. Demodex mites generally habitat on face and near the eye lashes. Therefore they are also referred as facial mites.

Person having healthy immune system may not know about presence of demodex mites in his body. Demodex mites can live in any condition and in any climate. They are therefore found throughout the world where mammals reside.

What Causes Demodex Mites In Humans?

As mentioned earlier, this tiny parasitic mite lives even in normal humans. It does not produce any symptoms. However, with low immunity, demodex mites may multiply fast and give rise to many annoying symptoms. Demodex mites live in the hair follicles and inside the sebaceous glands. Demodex brevis generally resides in oil gland while demodex folliculorum is present in the hair follicle.

Demodex mite lives by sucking nutrients from hair follicles and skin. They are common in old and aged individual, people suffering from chronic illness, or following unhealthy practices. Reproduction of demodex mites is fast. It takes the mite to mature within two weeks and thus the infestation is rapid and quick.

Demodex Mites Symptoms In Humans

Usually demodex mites do not produce any symptoms in a healthy individual. His healthy immune system does not allow the mites to reproduce quickly. But the mite reproduces and grows fast at suitable opportunity such as old age, illness etc. Demodicosis is a name given to condition where there is unrestricted growth of mites.

  • Demodex mites cause itchy, red irritation on skin surface. The follicles become enlarged due to irritation and many people may have loss of hair in that region.
  • It can also lead to secondary infection in the hair follicle.
  • The mites can crawl. As they are photosensitive, they become active at night.
  • When demodex mites infest eyelashes it gives rise to blepheritis.
  • Certain cases of acne rosacea are blamed to be due to demodex mites.
  • Children are less affected with demodex mites, probably because there is less oil secretion in the oil glands.
  • Transmission of demodex mites in most cases is through direct contact.

Natural Remedies For Demodex Mites In Humans

Heavy infestation of demodex mites may require treatment. The primary aim is to make the immune system healthy. Conventional treatment includes application of medicated creams and ointments along with oral antibiotics. Antibiotics are necessary to prevent secondary infection. The prescribed medicated creams penetrate deep inside the hair follicles and sebaceous glands and kill the parasites.

Few home remedies are also useful to eradicate demodex menace with safety and without any side effects.

  • Fish oil is considered effective in killing the parasite. Apply fish oil on the affected area.
  • Vitamin E oil is also found useful in killing the germs and reducing their population.
  • Garlic contains sulfur in its natural form. Demodex mites are destroyed by applying garlic oil on the skin surface.
  • Eat healthy food and follow healthy hygienic practices to boost the immune system.

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Can anyone help me? I purchased pure Garlic oil. However, I am not sure if I need to dilute it with anything before using or if I should apply it as it is? I have the mites in my hair, on my body, my face and my eye lashes. I also purchased pure Tea Tree oil and I have read that the Tea Tree oil works well for eyelids, eyelashes and my facial areas. I really can’t handle having these mites on me everywhere. Please give me your advice.

I am also going through the same thing. I am going crazy it feels like something is living in my nose and eyelashes. I thought I had picked up scabies from visiting my father in an old age home but I only noticed it after my mother had been going back and forth to the doctor complaining of itching. Doctor just said she was stressed but she got a horrible rash on her body and arms. Weeks later I started with this problem which is much worse at night. I also got a rash and fine spots.

I have been using premitherin cream for well over a month and also the sulphar soap for scabies but nothing is helping. I do believe it may be due to having a low immune system as I am on a mild chemo pill for the last four years. My mother is also battling to get rid of it. She has just been given a course of antibiotics as she has been scratching so much it has caused festering sores. I think my best bet would be to get a skin scrape and lab tests.

Are you using over the counter permethrin or did you get a prescription? The prescription is 5% versus 1% over the counter. It is also cheaper as prescription than OTC. I have been experimenting with permethrin to treat dermatitis in my ear. I think it is working, but I believe that it works better when I apply it at night. That is when the little guys are moving around.

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How to Tell the Difference between Ear Mites and Yeast Infection

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Ear issues are particularly common in dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, about 20% of dogs deal with an ear condition. Two of the primary issues dogs can face are ear mites and ear infections.

Ear mites are passed from animal to animal. Infections are usually brought on by the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. Thankfully, both problems are much easier to treat than they were in the past

The problem is they can be mistaken for one another, and the treatment necessary to get rid of each one is different. With that being said, it’s vital to know the signs and symptoms of each one.

Ear mites are more frequently found in cats. But, that doesn’t mean dogs are completely immune to them. You should never assume your pooch is dealing with an infection when it could be mites causing the problem, or vice versa.

These two problems can look similar within your dog’s ears. But, you can take a look at some of the subtle differences. Getting your dog the right treatment as quickly as possible is necessary to ensure that they feel comfortable again.

Table of Contents:

Dog Ear Mites vs. Yeast Infection

This guide will help you to understand the differences between ear mites and an ear infection in your dog. Because most ear infections in canines are caused by an overgrowth of yeast, we’ll often refer to them as ‘yeast infections.’

It can be tricky to tell these two issues apart at first. But, with more information and knowledge of what to look for, you can get your dog the best treatment. We’ll also share some treatments and preventative options you can perform at home to keep your dog’s ears healthy.

How Do I Tell if My Dog Has Ear Mites?

Ear mites are relatively common, but they are also a mild condition when they’re treated properly. For many dogs, treatment is easy, and the mites themselves cause only a slight irritation. Other dogs can be hypersensitive to ear mites and experience more severe symptoms.

The most obvious symptom of ear mites in a dog is scratching at the ears and shaking their head frequently as though their ears are irritating them.

Other common symptoms include:

    Thick crust-like areas in the outer ear Scratches and cuts on the backside of the ear Frequent itching all around the head and neck Bumps that look like coffee grounds in the ear canal Hair falls off of ears in spots

Ear mites can also cause your dog to scratch at their ears so much that a blood blister, or hematoma, forms. This can be painful for your dog, and if the excessive itching continues, it can even cause damage to your dog’s eardrum. So, ear mites are more than just a nuisance. They can cause more long-term problems if they aren’t taken care of as quickly as possible.

What Causes Ear Mites in Dogs?

Ear mites are highly contagious from animal to animal. If your dog has been in contact with another dog (or cat) who is dealing with ear mites, there’s a good chance the parasite will spread to your dog.

It’s rare for a human to get ear mites, so you don’t have to worry about getting them from your dog. Some people are susceptible, but mites will rarely cause more than a slight itch for humans. But, you might have to worry about other animals in the house if one of them shows signs of ear mites.

Ear mites spend their entire life cycle in the ear canal of an animal. According to VCA Hospitals, they go through five life stages while in the ear canal. The good news? They only live for about two months.

During that time, they are continually reproducing. So, unless you treat your dog for ear mites, it’s unlikely they will ever go away on their own as new eggs are constantly being hatched and growing into adult mites.

How Are Ear Mites Diagnosed?

Ear mites should be officially diagnosed by a veterinarian. It is usually done through a clinical exam and questioning. Your dog’s vet will likely ask if your pet has come in contact with any other animals recently.

Then, a swab of the ear canal can be done so the vet can take a closer look at what might be going on. Veterinarians know what to look for when they’re searching for ear mites, and they should be able to make a diagnosis easily so your dog can start a treatment plan.

If you have other animals in your house, you should take them to the vet, too. Even if they aren’t showing symptoms of ear mites, the parasites are so contagious that it’s likely they either already have them or will get them soon.

How to Treat Ear Mites in Dogs

There are different ways to get rid of ear mites making their home in your dog’s ear canal. One of the most popular solutions is to use specific medications prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian. Currently, ear mite medications don’t work on eggs or larvae.

Instead, they focus on killing the adult mites. So, several rounds of ear mite medication may be necessary as the eggs continue to hatch to kill off all the adults over time.

Some dog owners are more interested in trying out natural remedies for getting rid of ear mites. Using ingredients that are safe on your dog is essential, but which home remedies actually work?

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular home solutions for treating ear mites in dogs:

    Tea tree oil: This is used for a variety of different skin problems for humans, and it can work just as well for dogs. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can soothe your dog’s desire to itch. It also helps to repel mites. Tea tree oil must be diluted to use it safely on your dog’s skin. Dilute a few drops of it in a carrier oil (like olive oil) and massage gently into your dog’s ears. Your dog should have the urge to shake their head. This is a good thing! The oil will help to release the mites. Vinegar and water: Take one tablespoon of white distilled vinegar and mix it with two tablespoons of warm water. Then, use a dropper to squeeze two or three drops into each of your dog’s ears. Massage the solution in using a cotton ball. This mixture will offer a soothing sensation for your dog, and the acidic nature will also create a harmful environment for mites. Keep in mind that this solution is best used in the early stages of ear mites. Don’t try it when your dog has already developed sores or crusted areas of skin. Jojoba oil: Using jojoba oil for ear mites is another natural and safe solution. It can be used on its own thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used as a carrier for other essential oils and massaged into your dog’s ears to soothe their symptoms.

Can Ear Mites be Prevented?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Because ear mites are so contagious from animal to animal, it can be hard to prevent them altogether.

But, if you live in a household with more than one pet, there are a few things you can do to keep all of them a little safer from catching these nasty little parasites:

    Treat the ears of all pets in your household if one has ear mites. Treat the skin of all pets in your household. Treat your home itself, including carpets. Mites can live for a short time in the environment. Clean your dog’s ears regularly with a commercial ear cleaner.

By following these tips, you can reduce your dog’s chances of getting ear mites again and protect your other pets from dealing with the parasites, too.

Does My Dog Have an Ear Infection?

Many dogs will, unfortunately, suffer from an ear infection at least once in their life. At first glance, an ear infection in a dog can look like ear mites. But, there are differences to keep in mind. First of all, ear infections are typically caused by an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria in the ear canal. Yeast can be a common problem in different areas of your dog’s body, including their paws.

Dogs have deep, dark, and moist ear canals. They are the perfect environment for yeast to grow and thrive. Specific dogs, like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, are at an even higher risk thanks to their long, floppy ears.

How can you tell if your dog has an ear infection and not ear mites? Many of the symptoms are the same. This includes things like your dog continually itching their ears, shaking their head, and crusty scabs along the outer ear.

Some subtle differences to look for when it comes to an ear infection include:

    A foul odor coming from the ears Redness/swelling Bloody discharge

The most noticeable symptom is the smell from your dog’s ears. Yeast infections have a distinct smell, and it’s easy to get a big whiff! Any discharge that is coming from your dog’s ear will likely also have a bad smell to it. Ear mites don’t often emit a foul odor.

Can Allergies Cause an Ear Infection in Dogs?

Dogs with allergies are often more susceptible to ear infections than others. You can usually tell if allergies are the culprit if your dog seems to get chronic ear infections. The symptoms will be the same as any other ear infection. But, if it isn’t properly treated it could continue to get worse and flare up whenever your dog comes in contact with a specific allergen.

The most common allergies associated with ear infections in dogs are skin allergies and food allergies. If your dog seems to get these infections continuously, you should get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible for an official diagnosis. Obviously, the best thing to do is to keep them away from the allergen, to begin with. But, finding out what that is wrong need to be determined by your dog’s vet.

Can a Dog Die from an Ear Infection?

It’s unlikely that an ear infection in your dog will be fatal. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious problems and lasting damage. When left untreated, ear infections can continue to spread to other parts of the ear and cause a lot of internal problems for your dog. Unfortunately, some of that damage could be permanent.

Ear infections usually start out only affecting the outer ear. This is known as the otitis externa. If the infection goes untreated, it could continue to travel to the middle ear (otitis media) and inner ear (otitis interna).

If an ear infection is allowed to spread to the inner ear, serious complications could arise. Your dog may experience deafness, or their face may even become paralyzed. They could even become severely uncoordinated, making it difficult to do things as simple as walking correctly.

Extreme cases can affect your dog’s eardrums and even damage blood vessels. So, while death from an ear infection is rare, there are many concerns you should keep in mind if your dog is showing signs of having one. By treating the infection before it’s allowed to spread to the inner ear, you can provide your dog with some comfort and keep them from the serious risks associated with it.

How Are Ear Infections in Dogs Treated?

Once your dog has been diagnosed with an ear infection, their vet will clean your dog’s ears and suggest an antibiotic treatment. These are usually topical treatments that you can apply regularly at home to your dog’s ears.

If your dog’s infection seems to be causing irritation or pain, the vet may also prescribe something to keep them more comfortable at home. Following the directions when giving your dog the ear medication is essential.

There are a few home remedies that can also help to ease your dog’s pain and clear up an ear infection. Some people prefer using these methods on their furry friends because they use all-natural ingredients that can usually already be found around the house.

A couple of the most popular home remedies for ear infections in dogs are:

  1. Coconut oil: Coconut oil for a dog ear infection is a popular treatment method. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help to combat yeast and other forms of bacteria that could be triggering the infection. To use it, melt a few tablespoons of the oil and let it cool slightly. Use a dropper to apply a few drops into each of your dog’s ears, and massage them gently. You can also soak a cotton ball in the oil to clean out your dog’s ears.
  2. Apple cider vinegar: Not only can apple cider vinegar help to clean your dog’s ears, but it can kill yeast and bacteria, too! Make a solution of equal parts ACV and water. Then, soak a cotton ball in the solution and rub it gently in the flap of your dog’s outer ear. You can do this regularly as a cleaning/maintenance solution, too. Be sure not to use apple cider vinegar if your dog has red ears or and bleeding around the ears.

At-home solutions and natural remedies for ear infections should only be used on your dog if the infection hasn’t already traveled to the middle or inner ear.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog Ear Infection to Clear Up?

How long it takes for your dog’s ear infection to clear up depends on how severe the case was. If it was allowed to spread to other areas of the ear, it could take a long time to heal. Some of the effects caused by the infection could last for a long time or even be permanent.

In most cases, though, an ear infection can be treated in under 30 days. Your dog’s vet might request that you bring your dog in about a week after their initial check and treatment to see how everything is going. This is usually called a ‘re-check.’ If your dog has chronic ear infections, you may need to go to the vet periodically for re-checks to make sure any infections are clearing up and not spreading or growing.

Can Ear Infections be Prevented?

Preventing infections before they have a chance to cause your dog discomfort is always the best option. While ear infections aren’t 100% preventable, like mites, there are some things you can do to lower your dog’s risk.

If your dog suffers from infections due to allergies, the best thing to do is to remove the allergen from their daily life. This could include things like changing their food. If your dog has a diet that’s high in starch, it could also be a contributing factor in how frequently they get a buildup of yeast in their ears.

One of the easiest ways you can help to prevent ear infections in your dog is to clean out their ears regularly. This is something you can do at home, and it can end up saving you a trip to the vet! Regular cleanings are a great way to keep ear infections at bay. In the next section, we’ll go through a simple step-by-step guide to cleaning your dog’s ears at home.

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home

It’s easy to clean your dog’s ears at home and only takes a few minutes if it’s done on a regular basis. Knowing the safest and most effective cleaning method can keep your dog’s ears healthy.

Follow these steps to make sure your pooch’s ears stay clean:

  1. Start by getting rid of any excess dirt, matted fur, or a buildup of wax in or around the ears. If your dog has long hairs around the edge of their ear flap, these can also be trimmed. Too much debris around the ear flap makes it easy for the wax to build up inside the canal and cause problems.
  2. Choose the right ear-cleaning solution for your dog. Many ear cleaning products are sold over-the-counter. Or, you can get a recommendation from your vet about the best one to use. You can even choose a natural cleaning solution, like apple cider vinegar.
  3. Once you have your solution, apply a few drops into the ear canal.
  4. Gently massage the base of your dog’s ears after the solution is applied. You might hear a ‘squishing’ noise as you do this. That’s completely normal!
  5. After about 20 seconds of massaging, move back a bit and allow your dog to shake their head. This will help to loosen up any excess wax buildup in the ear canal.
  6. Use a cotton ball to gently clean up any wax that comes to the outer ear. Never stick a cotton ball or swab into your dog’s ear canal.

You can repeat this process as often as needed. Most dogs need their ears cleaned about once a month. If your dog is more susceptible to ear infections, they may need more frequent cleanings.

Because problems like ear mites and ear infections are so common in dogs, don’t feel bad if your pooch starts showing symptoms! While there are ways to lower their risk of getting one of these conditions, they aren’t entirely preventable. Thankfully, they are both treatable!

We hope this article has given you some insight on how to tell the difference between ear mites and an ear infection in your dog. Now that you know what symptoms to look for, you can get your fur baby the treatment they need quickly, so they can feel better as soon as possible.

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