Skin parasites are organisms of different species that invade the human skin. Parasites normally reduce the host’s fitness in many different ways usually by exploiting the hosts for resources necessary for the survival. Parasites that live on the surface of the host, such as skin parasites, are called ectoparasites. These parasites can inhabit the space in the host’s body or the cells of the body. Human skin parasites are very common. It is estimated that 85-95% of adults have some kind of parasites in their body, but they are being unaware of it. However, most of these parasites are benign and do not cause any kind of symptoms, but skin parasites are quite different as they feed on human blood and other bodily material, causing various unpleasant symptoms.
Symptoms of skin parasites
Various insects, worms or bugs that feed on human blood can invade the body. Some of these parasites are external, and highly transmissible. Others are internal parasites that invade the area under the skin where they reproduce and lay eggs. The most common symptoms of skin parasites include itchy and crawling feeling on the skin or just below the skin, accompanied with a red rash. In some cases, the rash will be painful and sometimes include pustules that look very similar to acne.
The most common skin parasites
Fleas are small wingless insects that can jump huge distances and have mouths adapted for piercing the skin and sucking the blood. Fleas are usually spread from cats, dogs or other domestic animals. Their bites usually appear in clusters or lines on the skin, or dark red itchy bumps. Their lifecycle is about five weeks but the only way to really get rid of them is to treat the animal.
Ticks are another common skin parasite that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Their bodies expand as they feed, and they normally stick to the skin and remain attached until they are full of blood. People get them normally when they are out in the woods, and they are very common near water sources. Ticks are dangerous as they can spread serious diseases such as Lyme’s disease.
Lice usually affect children or groups of people staying together in close quarters. They feed on blood, dead skin and body secretions. There are three different types of lice: head lice, body lice and pubic lice. They spread by direct contact or sharing hairbrushes, shared clothing or towels, and sexual contact, respectively.
Bedbugs are nocturnal skin parasites drawn to body heat and carbon dioxide. They are usually sized like an apple seed. Bedbugs pierce the skin to inject saliva and draw the blood out. Their saliva causes the allergic reaction and a painful skin rash.