Things That Make Your Skin Crawl

They're creepy, crawly and probably somewhere on your skin right now. That's right: Mites, bacteria, bed bugs, tics, fleas and more like to make their homes in our hides. Oftentimes they make their presence known with the appearance of bumps, rashes, visible injury or just general itchiness—yet just as often these microscopic bugs get comfortable without as much notice. So just what are the odds that you have tiny flesh-eating friends hanging around your body? Well the bacteria (and bug) population on our bodies reaches about 150 times the human population—meaning approximately one trillion nearly invisible parasites across more than 500 species are on our hair, skin, scabs, ears and much more right now. However, some of these bugs actually do some good work. For example, thanks to these little mites some of our infections and inflammation clears up quicker and potentially harmful or dangerous parasites are fought off by our bodily defenders.

So what types of bugs can we expect to be able to see with the naked eye? Adult fleas and ticks are generally visible. When a tick attaches itself to a host, it buries its head and begins to siphon out blood, later replacing it with a concoction that could contain Lyme disease. If you're bitten by a tick, you'll usually see a "bullseye" area, where a pink or red dot is encircled by a lighter pink area. Fleas, when matured, can also be spotted by humans, although good luck catching those bouncy bugs. Watch this playlist to learn more about the creepy creatures we carry around—and exactly what their purpose is.

Written by Curiosity Staff September 15, 2014

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