What Is Chiggers?
Hives (or urticaria) are red raised bumps or welts on the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body and can look like tiny little spots or large interconnected bumps. Individual hives can last anywhere from a few hours to a week (sometimes longer), and new ones might replace those that fade.
It can be triggered by many substances or situations and usually starts as an itchy patch of skin that turns into swollen red welts.
What Is Chigger?
Chiggers are tiny mite whose parasitic larvae live on or under the skin of warm-blooded animals, where they cause irritation and dermatitis and sometimes transmit scrub typhus. They are tiny members of the arachnid family. Although they are extremely small in size, their bites pack a powerful punch. They barely visible to the naked eye, but it can be view through micro scopes.
Chiggers are found throughout the world. They most commonly live in forests, grassy fields, gardens, parks, and in moist areas around lakes or rivers. They are red in color and may be best appreciated when clustered in groups on the skin. The juvenile forms have six legs, although the (harmless) adult mites have eight legs
Causes of Chiggers
Chiggers have claws that help them grab onto skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva. The saliva contains an enzyme that breaks skin cells down to liquid form and destroy the host tissue. The area then hardens, and a feeding tube, called a sylostome, develops at the bite area. Chiggers can feed on the skin for a few days through this structure if they are not disturbed
Symptoms/Signs of Chigger
People who have been outdoors in chigger-infested vegetated areas may suffer intense itching 3 to 6 hours after exposure, followed by a dermatitis (skin inflammation).
· A raised or flat red bump on the skin.
· A skin bump resembling a blister or pimple.
· Itching, that can be quite intense.
How to diagnose Chigger
Chigger bites are typically identified based upon their location on the skin and a history of being outdoors or in contact with vegetation as well as the characteristic itching. Diagnostic tests are typically not required.
How to Prevent Chiggers
- Wear long sleeves and long pants made of tightly woven fabric. This will provide a physical barrier that can help keep chiggers off your body. It's also a good idea to tuck your pants into your boots so there's no exposed skin.
- Use an insect repellent. Many experts recommend repellents containing the chemical DEET. Others suggest using sulfur, although it can have a strong odor. Regardless of which repellent you choose, be sure to follow the instructions precisely. Some repellents can be used only on clothing or have to be reapplied after a certain amount of time. Never use flea collars to try to repel chiggers or any other pest -- the chemicals in flea collars can burn or irritate human skin.
- Stay on marked trails and away from tall weeds, brush and heavy undergrowth.
- Shower thoroughly after entering any areas that might be infested. Lather your body with soap several times, and rinse thoroughly. Since chiggers can wander around for hours, a prompt shower may wash them all away before they do any harm.
- Wash any clothing you've worn in chigger-infested areas in hot, soapy water. The hot water and soap will kill the chiggers, but they can survive cold- or warm-water washes.
- It can take anywhere from one to three weeks for chigger bites to heal. In the meantime, try to avoid scratching, as this can cause infection.
- You may use over-the-counter anti-itch medications like hydrocortisone or calamine lotion.
- You can also apply ice to the bites to relieve itch.
- Avoid very hot baths and showers.
- Bathe in cool water or use cool compresses—cloths soaked in cold water or
- ice water.
- Compresses of cool oatmeal water also calm itching.
- Boil the oatmeal in water, strain it, and use the water when cool. (Starch can be used instead of oats.)
- If itching is severe, take an antihistamine like chlorpheniramine
- To protect a baby from scratching himself, cut his fingernails
- If you become infected or symptoms don’t improve, see your doctor. It is a common misperception that chiggers burrow under the skin. They do not, so there is no need to try to remove them.
Chiggers Home Remedies/Home Cure
1. Apply Ice
Put an ice pack on the place where you have been bitten for a quick relief from itching. You can also put a topical cream, like Neosprin.
2. Baking Soda
Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply it to the affected area. This is an effective chigger bites treatment.
3. Apply Nail Polish
Coat the affected area with a nail polish. It will prevent you from scratching the chigger bite too much. You can also apply Elmer’s Glue to the bite.
4. Use a Dryer
Hold a dryer 5cm away from the bite and blow it dry for about 2 minutes. This will relieve the itchiness caused due to the chigger bite.
5. Have enough rest
6. Ace Bandage
In order to reduce the excessive itchiness, wrap the area with an ace bandage. This will interrupt the air supply and reduce itching.
7. Apply Calamine Lotion
To get a quick relief from itching and inflammation, you can also apply some calamine lotion on the skin.
8. Listerine Mouthwash
After washing the affected area with soap and water, soak a cotton ball in some Listerine mouthwash and apply it to the chigger rash.
9. Castor Oil
Massage some castor oil on the affected skin to get relief from the itchiness and irritation.
10. Vicks VapoRub
This is a reliable cure for chigger bite. Mix some salt in Vicks VapoRub and apply it over the bitten area. This will give you relief from intense itching. The best time to put on this mixture is at night as when you will wake up the next morning, the swelling will be gone and the rashes will be reduced to a great extent.
Grind 1-2 aspirin tablets to a fine powder. Apply this powder over the chigger bite. It will certainly help you a lot.
12. Baby Oil
After cleaning the affected area, put some baby oil on it. This will give respite from the irritation and inflammation.
13. Lavender or Tea Tree Essential Oil
You can also apply essential oils, such as tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil or thyme essential oil for immediate relief.
14. Olive Oil
Mix some olive oil with little tea tree oil and apply it. It is one of the best natural cures for a chigger bite.
15. Apply a combination of Aloe Vera & Peppermint Oil
Take the fresh aloe vera gel and mix it with a few drops of peppermint oil, olive oil and vinegar. Apply this mixture in order to trim down the prickliness and swelling.
Scrub the affected part with cooked oatmeal. This is one of the most effective home remedies to neutralize the allergy caused by a chigger bite.
Put some cornstarch in your bath water and soak in it for some time. This will effectively reduce the soreness. You can also soak in Epsom salt water.
18. Apply a Tea Bag
Soak a tea bag in water and apply it on the area bitten by chiggers. This will lessen the chigger bite symptoms.
19. Drink Herbal Tea
You can also drink chamomile tea or green tea in order to get a soothing effect.
Complications of Chigger
Chigger bites themselves do not produce any long-term complications. However, because of the intense itching, prolonged scratching may lead to skin wounds that may become infected by bacteria.