Difference Between Scabies and Bed Bugs (With Table)

The human body is very sensitive to any type of foreign intruders attacking the body. The moment any intruder attacks, the body starts responding and kills the intruders before incorporating with the cells. Scabies and Bed bugs are two diseases or an allergic reactions caused by the mites. And they are often gets mistaken as the same, which is not true.

Scabies vs Bed Bugs

The difference between Scabies and Bed Bugs is that Scabies causing mites to feed on the human blood, and they do so by infusing themselves under the skin. Because of this, on the surface, red rashes have appeared, which irritates. Whereas comparatively, on the other hand, Bed bugs causing mites also feed on human blood (also mammals like dogs or cats). 

Scabies is a disease that is caused by the mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. These are parasitic mites that live inside the surface of the skin. They lay eggs inside the surface of the skin that appears like a greyish white line, a red patch. The tunnel of the eggs measures up to 1-10 mm in size.

Bed Bugs are insects that infect humans irritating. These are parasites that feed on human blood and sometimes even on some other mammals like dogs, cats, etc. The physical appearance of the bed bugs is a mite with a flat or oval body, with six legs, wingless, and 5-7 mm in size. They don’t live on human skin but instead live on the furniture surface, bed frame, curtain, etc.

Comparison Table Between Scabies and Bed Bugs

Parameters of ComparisonScabiesBed Bugs
DefinitionSkin irritation that is caused by mitesSkin irritation that is caused by insects
Caused By Sarcoptes scabieiCimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus
SymptomsRed papules, intense itching, and many moreDiscolored skin, red spots, skin irritation, etc
DiagnosisA physical exam or by microscopic supervision of skin scrapsA physical exam or by infestation on skin
Risk FactorsWeak immune system and living in crowded placesUsing obtained furniture or living in hotels or motels more than usual
TreatmentAntihistamines, topical permethrin, antibiotics, etcCorticosteroids and Antihistamines

What are Scabies?

Scabies is an infection that is caused by the parasitic mite feeding the human blood and living under the skin of humans. Because of this, it is called a parasitic mite. The scientific name of the mite-causing scabies is known as Sarcoptes scabiei

The infections lead to skin redness and irritation at night. The causing agent burrows itself under the layer of the skin and lays eggs. They lay 2 to 3 eggs per day and forms a tunnel that appears as red spots, greyish white color patches. 

The infection caused by the scabies mite can be diagnosed by the physical examination performed by the doctor or by examining the skin scraping under the microscope for the mites’ eggs, feces, or for its presence. The treatment of scabies is performed by taking up antihistamines, topical permethrin, antibiotics, or other medicines prescribed by the dermatologist.  

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are an insect that feeds on human blood along with other mammals like dogs and cats. They are parasitic as they live in dark or dry places like on the surface of the furniture, seems of the mattress, bed frame, curtains, used clothes, pillow cover, sheets, etc. 

The scientific name of the insect infecting the disease is known as Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. The first species of the insect can be found in the temperate parts, while the second species of the insect can be found in the tropical parts of the world. 

After the biting of the bed bug, the symptoms like red spots, skin irritation, blisters, pimples, or swelling can be seen. These are noticeable after 10 days and became itchy after some time. Usually, it is observed that bed bugs suck the blood in the night and easily transmit it from one person to another. These are diagnosed by the observed discoloration or change in skin color, red spots, or by the physical examination by the doctor. 

The treatment for bed bugs involves the oral intake of medicine like antihistamines and corticosteroids cream. Still, after taking the treatment, it usually takes approximately 10 days to get away with the sore of bed bugs. 

Main Differences Between Scabies and Bed Bugs

  1. Scabies is a disease that causes skin irritation because of the mites, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, Bed bugs are a skin irritation because of the insect.
  2. The causative agent for the Scabies disease is Sarcoptes scabiei, while comparatively, on the other side, the causative agent for the Bed bugs are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus.
  3. The symptoms appearing after the infection caused by Scabies are – red papules, intense itching, and many others, while comparatively, on the other side, the symptoms that appeared because of the Bed bugs are discolored, patchy skin, red spots, itchiness, or skin irritation, and many others.
  4. Scabies can be diagnosed by performing a physical exam or by testing the skin scraping under the microscope, whereas comparatively, on the other side, Bed bugs are diagnosed by the physical examination or by the infestation seen on the surface of the skin.
  5. The risk factors related to scabies is that it denotes the week immune system of the person with their living in a crowded place while comparatively, on the other side, the risk factors related to bed bugs shows the overusing the rooms in hotel or motel with the used furniture, clothes, sheets, etc.
  6. Scabies can be treated with antihistamines, topical permethrin, antibiotics, and many other medicines, while comparatively, on the other side, the bed bugs are treated by using corticosteroids and antihistamines. 

Conclusion

Scabies and Bed bugs are the two infections that are related to skin and are very common and can be frequently seen in a person affected due to it. These are the diseases that are caused by parasitic mites and insects. Both the two feed on the human blood but with a difference in their feeding pattern as the scabies mites’ feeds after infesting inside the skin surface while the parasitic insect of bed bugs feed over the surface only. The redness over the area, skin rashes, skin irritation, pimple-like swellings are the common symptoms that are observed for both infections. Scabies is treated with antihistamines, topical permethrin, antibiotics, while Bed bugs are treated with antihistamines and corticosteroids.

References

  1. https://journals.lww.com/co-pediatrics/Abstract/2021/08000/Common_pediatric_infestations__update_on_diagnosis.12.aspx
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196655320305216
  3. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/wajm/article/view/27994
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1059840509331438
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