Fact or Fiction: Skin Parasites
Image: Photo courtesy CDC/Dr. Amanda Loftis, Dr. William Nicholson, Dr. Will Reeves, Dr. Chris Paddock
About This Quiz
This quiz might make your skin and scalp start to itch -- reading about fleas, ticks, lice and bedbugs tends to have that effect. Take this quiz to learn more about skin parasites.
There are three types of skin parasites.
almost fact: There are two types.
Skin parasites are either external or internal.
Internal parasites are usually harder to get rid of than external ones.
External parasites tend to jump on and off the skin, but internal ones stick around.
almost fact: It depends on the specific parasite.
Skin parasites are contagious.
Not all are contagious, but they definitely can be.
almost fact: Only external parasites are contagious.
Most skin parasite infestations can be taken care of with over-the-counter products.
Not true. In fact, if over-the-counter products don't work on a rash, it's a sign that your problem was probably caused by a skin parasite.
almost fact: Over-the-counter topical medications generally work, but oral medications aren't as effective.
Flea bites are clusters of tiny pink bumps.
Flea bites are dark red, but they're ringed in pink.
almost fact: The bumps are dark red with a white, ridged outline.
Many people and animals are allergic to flea saliva.
Just the bites are enough to cause itching, but if you're allergic to flea saliva, it will also cause a rash.
almost fact: Every mammal is allergic to flea saliva.
Fleas can carry E. Coli bacteria.
almost fact: Fleas can carry bubonic plague.
E. Coli isn't a worry with fleas, but there is a risk of bubonic plague, or the Black Death.
Fleas have hard bodies, which makes them resistant to scratching.
Yep, fleas are unaffected by scratching, and it's also impossible to crush or pinch them.
almost fact: Fleas are resistant to scratching because they bury themselves in your skin.
After they bite you, ticks insert a feeding tube into your skin.
Yes, ticks use a feeding tube called a hypostome.
almost fact: They make a tiny hole with their pinchers, through which they suck blood.
It usually takes a couple of hours for a tick to be filled with blood.
A tick could actually be on your body for two days.
almost fact: It only takes a few minutes.
The best way to get a tick off your body is to hold a lit match near it.
Both of these options could actually make the tick inject more saliva into your skin. Plucking it off with tweezers is the best way.
almost fact: The best way is to rub it with petroleum jelly.
Lice eat your blood and other body secretions.
almost fact: Add dead skin to that list.
Yes to all of it -- lice consume blood, body secretions and dead skin.
There are three types of lice that infest the human body.
Lice vary slightly depending on what body part they prefer: head, body or pubic region.
almost fact: There's only one type, but they can infest three different parts of the body.
The three types are indistinguishable to the naked eye.
almost fact: Head and body lice look very similar, but pubic lice are different.
Head and body lice look alike, but white pubic lice do resemble crabs -- hence the nickname.
Body lice live in clothing.
Yes, body lice live in clothes, and they can be spread through shared clothing or towels.
almost fact: They live in your body hair.
Head lice lay eggs all over the scalp.
almost fact: They actually lay their eggs on your hair.
The lice lay eggs and affix them to your hair with saliva.
Pediculosis is the scientific name for lice infestations
almost fact: It's pericutosis.
Baby lice are called nits.
Nits are the empty lice egg shells. They're easy to identify in the hair but hard to remove.
almost fact: Nits is the word for lice eggs.
Bedbugs are drawn to their victims by body heat and oxygen.
almost fact: They are attracted to body heat, but also to exhaled carbon dioxide.
Body heat and carbon dioxide are what does it -- so maybe you'd be safe sleeping in a freezer?
Scabies mites usually enter your body through the hands or feet.
True. Scabies mites will usually pick either the hands or feet for their burrowing entry point.
almost fact: They start at the feet and end at the hands.
Photo courtesy CDC/Dr. Amanda Loftis, Dr. William Nicholson, Dr. Will Reeves, Dr. Chris Paddock