Difference Between Scabies and Flea Bites

Scabies usually itches more and is overall very unpleasant. Scabies can spread on other people, and that’s how you got infected in the first place. However, you could get infected from a pet as well. Scabies can attach to your cloth, and you can carry them around with you and contaminate more people.

What Is Scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by Sarcoptes scabiei. Sarcoptes scabiei is a mite that burrows itself under the skin. Under the skin, scabies lay eggs and all that cause enormous itching. Scabies can infect the whole family because they are extremely contagious. One child can spread scabies in school, home, and nursing home. If scabies gets in prison (or other facilities with lots of people sharing close contact), there is a high chance that the whole prison will need treatment.

Doctors usually treat whole families or a group of people who may have scabies. The good news is that we have good cures for it and medication applied on the skin can kill mites extremely fast. But still itching may last longer, more than several weeks.

Scabies Mites, Credit: Micah MacAllen

How to Identify Scabies

First, we need to say that you can’t see scabies with the naked eye. These mites are small, and they burrow themselves under the skin. But some symptoms may point that you are infected by scabies.

  • Itching

Itching is the number one symptom. At night itching may get worse. The rash will appear on the skin.

  • Rash

The rash is unique. It looks like pimples filled with fluid. Sometimes these pimples are close to each other. It is also possible to see gray lines on the skin. Scabies attack the whole body, and rash can be on any part of the body. But mostly scabies is most active on hands and feet. They love to burrow themselves around nails and between fingers.

The problem with a rash is that it is very similar to dermatitis, poison ivy, syphilis, and flea bites. By looking at the rash, you can’t be sure you have scabies. The rash is almost the same as the flea bites rash.

Rash and itching are dangerous even though both flea bites rash and scabies rash are easily treatable conditions. But if you scratch, you may cause a bacterial infection, which can be very dangerous if you don’t treat it.

Scabies vs. Flea bites

Itching and rash are similar, but if you look at the rash carefully, you can see some differences. Flea bites appear in a group of five or fewer bumps in the linear pattern while scabies appears in a tunnel and are somehow under the skin. Flea bites look more like bumps on the skin while scabies is like pimples that are incredibly itchy at night.

Scabies rash is found anywhere on the body, but mostly on arms and legs. However, flea bites are usually concentrated on feet and legs.

Fleas can’t live on the human body since we don’t have fur or hair on our bodies. On the other side, scabies can survive for over two months on the human body because they burrow themselves under the skin and lay eggs. Of the body, scabies can live only 2 to 3 days.

Fleas bite anyone, humans, or animals. Scabies is contagious, and infestations happen from other humans. Most concern facilities are hospitals, daycares, elderly homes, and other similar buildings with lots of traffic.

Flea bites are not contagious. If you have a rash, that does not mean you will infect anyone. Scabies mites live under the rash, and if you touch someone else’s skin, the person will get infected. Contact between people spreads scabies; that’s why when treatment is applied, all people in contact with an infected person need to be treated.

Fleas are active, and sometimes you can even see them jump on the floor. Scabies mites are slow, and they crawl on human skin.

Scabies on Hand, Credit: Gzzzz

Eliminate Scabies

To eliminate scabies from your body, you will need scabicides. Scabicides are special medication made for killing scabies. Scabicides are given on a doctor’s prescription only. Nonprescription products are not as good as the doctors’ prescription.

However, before you start treatment, you should know that anyone who is in close contact with you needs to be treated as well. People that live under the same roof and sexual partners need to be treated at the same time—also, anyone who has a longer skin to skin contact with you.

Scabies rash usually starts after you were already infected for several weeks; because of that, anyone who was in close contact with you in that period needs to be treated as well. That’s important because there is a high chance for reinfestation if not all people are treated simultaneously.

Before starting treatment, you need to clean your home. Use high temperature to kill scabies. You need to clean clothing and beddings at high temperatures. If you think that some part of the home is infected, then seal it for 72h. Scabies can’t live longer than three days away from the human body.

When applying treatment, make sure your body is clean. It is best to use it after a shower. Scabies lotion or cream needs to be applied to all parts of the body. After you apply the treatment, make sure you wear clean clothing.

Scabies Home Treatment

As already mentioned, the best treatment against scabies is the doctor’s prescription. But that does not mean that you can’t try some home remedies in combat with scabies.

  • Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree oil is an essential oil used for various things. It is a perfect treatment against itching. It has antibacterial properties, and all of that can help a lot if you have scabies infection. Tea Tree Oil may kill scabies, but it can’t hurt eggs, and because of that is not complete medicine for scabies. You can use it to relieve itching, but don’t expect scabies to go away. All kinds of itching, whether from scabies or flea bites, can be reduced with Tea Tree Oil.

Tea Tree Oil

  • Neem

Just like Tea Tree Oil, Neem has the same properties and the same effect on scabies. However, there is still a huge question if it can hurt scabies eggs. Most probably not. Because of that, use Neem for anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and analgesic properties.

Neem Oil

  • Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel is mainly used as a skin treatment. It can make your skin fresh and young. There are minimal side effects with Aloe Vera gel, and because of that is an excellent choice to treat scabies. However, it is questionable if scabies will be eliminated only by Aloe Vera gel. Still, itchiness, rash, and other skin conditions may be removed with Aloe Vera gel.

Aloe Vera


Flea bites on the first look are identical to scabies, but if you do detailed research, you can detect if the rash is from fleas or scabies. After that, you can start the treatment. I need to say that it is better to have flea bites than scabies because scabies can last longer and cause more problems than flea bites. I have given you some home treatment solutions which can help with scabies rash as well as all other bites and skin conditions. However, I need to suggest you to talk with the doctor who will give you a real prescription to eliminate scabies. He will also help you with a list of people who need to be treated against scabies together with you. Because if you are still in contact with people who have scabies you can easily get reinfested.

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