One of the key factors to the success of your scabies treatment is making sure your environment is treated as well as your body.
Because you are the host, you are carrying scabies mites around with you everywhere you go, and inevitably some of these mites will end up in your surroundings, such as your bed, your clothes, your car, your workplace and so on.
However one question that often comes up is – can scabies survive without a human host? And for how long?
Let’s take a look at some of the answers from the interwebs:
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) says “On a person, scabies mites can live for as long as 1-2 months. Off a person, scabies mites usually do not survive more than 48-72 hours.” (source).
The School Of Medicine from The University of Illinois-Chicago says “While the scabies mite needs skin to feed and survive, it can live without a human host for 48 to 72 hours.” (source).
WebMD says “The mites can live on the human body for 1 to 2 months. They can also live in bedding or furniture for 48 to 72 hours.” (source).
The Mayo Clinic says “Mites die after a few days without food.” (source).
The American Academy of Dermatology says “The mite can survive for about 3 to 4 days without being on a human.” (source).
So, the consensus across health organizations seems to be mites won’t survive without a human host for any more than 3-4 days.
But where is the evidence?
As you know, on this blog I’m not about just reading words. I like to see evidence, science, research, published experiments, where these claims have actually been investigated and proven. That’s what led me to create this site in the first place.
Looking at the science of scabies mites and human hosts
Luckily, there was one study which actually looked into this question, along with many others. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive studies on scabies I’ve ever read. This one.
Here’s the first citation made on survival without a human host:
Animal strains of S. scabiei are suitable models to determine survival and retained infectivity for mites in the host environment. A study by Arlian et al. found that S. scabiei var. canis females survived for a week or more when held at 15 °C (59 °F) and relative humidity (RH) above 75%. At a warmer temperature of 25 °C (77 °F), females survived 1–2 days at all of the RHs tested. Male survival time off the host was much shorter compared to females. These studies showed that generally, warmer temperatures drastically reduced survival time at each humidity. In this study, the mites clearly died of dehydration due to their inability to maintain their water balance (an issue addressed later). Higher RH and temperatures below 20 °C allowed for longer survival times.
On the other hand, S. scabiei var. hominis fasting female mites can survive 19 days at 10 °C and 97% RH and 8 days at 10 °C and 25% RH.
Basically this says, female mites can survive a week or more at temperatures less than 15°C (59°F) and humidity above 75%. If you increase the temperature to 25°C (77°F), female mites will only survive 1-2 days.
It also says a fasting female mite can survive 19 days at 10 °C at 97% humidity, but decrease the humidity to 25% and that will decrease to 8 days.
The next section give us details from another study:
After extraction from the host, they found survival to be 84.7, 30.5, 6.8, 1.7 and 0% for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 days of exposure, respectively, to 21.0–25.5 °C and 90% RH. Survival at 24–25 °C and 30% RH was 63.5, 6.8 and 0% after 1, 2, and 3 days of exposure, respectively.
This basically tells us that at 25.5°C and 90% humidity, no mite survived longer than 5 days. Reduce the humidity to 30%, and no mite lasted longer than 3 days.
What does this mean for your scabies treatment?
If that was too much geek talk for you, the basic conclusion was that all scabies die without a human host…eventually.
However, it’s not as simple an answer as “3-4 days”.
From the study above, we learned that they die faster as the humidity decreases (because they need water) and also die faster when the temperature is high. If the environment is cold and humid, they can survive up to 19 days. If the environment is warm and dry, they will probably die in less than three.
In short – scabies die fastest in hot and dry environments.
That means this is the type of environment you should aim to create during your scabies treatment.
Tip: Use a dehumidifier. Even something basic like this will help immensely. You should be using one anyway! It’s great for preventing mold and wear in your home.
How to really kill scabies fast
If you have a scabies infestation, there is much more to treating yourself than creating a hot and dry environment.
Scabies is a serious condition, and if not treated will only get worse. If you want to kill the mites and get your life back, you need to treat it diligently.
Here on my blog I have spent many hours researching scabies, and can tell you confidently what the most effective treatment is. It’s all detailed in my treatment plan, which is 100% free for all and very doable and affordable. If you’re suffering from scabies, I highly recommend you read it and start treatment immediately. You can click here to go there now.
I really hope this was helpful and wishing you a quick return back to health!