Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bugs in Human Hair

Humans, like dogs, can suffer from mange or Demodectic infection. For people owning pets which are suffering from mange, they know the cost and heartache. The same type of tiny insect can affect humans. There are 65 species of Demodex mites, and basically, most animals have their own species; humans have two species. Ours make their home on the skin around our eyes or in our hair follicles.

The myth/idea that dog mites will infect humans is not true. The species of dog or cat mite do not like the taste of us, and will hop off to find a new home if they land on our skin, in the same way that our two human types of mites will hop off the dog if they accidentally land on there.

A dog who suffers from mange loses its fur due because of the Demodex parasitic mites burrowing very deep within their hair follicles. So that their skin may become irregular, flaky and scaly. In a very small amount of cases, the mites can become darker and black which may occur when and if exposed skin goes through a pigmentation change, which makes it look a lot darker than it should. If the mange (mites) is left to its own devices and goes untreated then the animal may come to develop a range of skin infection, with symptoms such as oozing sore and red furless areas that are itchy and painful.

So does this happen to humans too?

If you are one of the unlucky ones…….Yes.

The human form of demodex mites live in your pores, on your skin, in your oil glands and in your hair follicles, however they tend to stay around the face. Demodex mites only like a certain environment, and the problems they cause often happen when they breed in great numbers and start to “create” more hospitable environments for themselves. This will often result in the body fighting back in some way, which is what creates the nasty looking side of Demodectic infestation, and often results in face hair follicles being damaged and falling out. On the face this is not a big deal as it’s often not noticed, but on the head it is very noticeable. The trouble on the head is also the fact that it is harder to treat. On the face a person may use harsher chemicals and creams and be able to wash more thoroughly. On the head, the presence of hair makes regular thorough washing more difficult and the use of harsh chemicals almost impossible, unless the person were willing to shave their head.

Demodex mites don’t usually live in the hair follicles found around the body. Demodex mites prefer to live around the facial area, where the forehead, cheeks, eyes and nose make a hospitable environment. They have been known to spread to the hair follicles on the head and will often cause a lot of problems because of it. The body may fight the infestation by cutting off the blood supply and fluids to the hair follicles. The mites will then have to move somewhere else, but as an end result, the hair follicle will die and the hair will fall out.

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