Oklahoma Doctors Seeing 'Mite Bite Outbreak'

Friday, September 25th 2015, 12:13 am
By: News On 6

Football season means many people are spending more time outside; cheering on their kids’ teams and, sometimes, sitting side-by-side by all kinds of insects and critters.

Thousands of people in Green Country are complaining about mysterious bites all over their bodies and, in many cases, it's not the typical culprit, like a mosquito, instead, it’s from mites.

Doctors at the Tulsa Dermatology Center said it's the worse season for mites in over a decade. They said mites are all around us - living in grass, plants and trees - eventually falling off and biting people.

Bites itch, sting, and are downright uncomfortable, but when you step outside it’s hard to avoid the insects that deliver those bits, and Bob Stalcut said he has been bitten by them all.

"A lot of mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks,” he said. “It's been a bug year."

Dermatologist George Monks has seen even bigger bites than Stalcut’s, some the size of a golf ball.

Most aren't from a mosquito or a chigger, but a mite.

“I have never seen an outbreak quite like this,” Monks said.

Mites live in trees during the summer, but this is the time when they start to come down.

Monks said, "These mites literally fall from the trees, and, in fact, you can have hundreds of thousands of mites fall from an individual tree every day."

Once they fall, they are in the bushes and grass where we walk and children play.

"These mites are so small you can't see them with your eye, but the wind can carry these mites and move them," Monks explained.

And they are biting thousands.

"We are seeing a lot of football players having this problem, or anyone who works outside," he said.

He said they mostly bite on the upper half of your body, the necks and arms being the main targets.

The welts start small and grow.

"About 12 hours later, sometimes you can see a little pimple or pustule on the center of the lesion. And in certain individuals it can swell quite a bit to a few inches," Monks said.

He said you should fight the urge to itch, and, instead, head to a drugstore and pick up a few things.

"Anti-itch medicine, over the counter Hydrocortisone, Benadryl by mouth, Zyrtec by mouth."

He said that should clear up the bites without a visit to the doctor.

Doctors say the bites should disappear within a few weeks of proper treatment.