You might be out for a stroll in the park with your kids. Or possibly delighting in an afternoon on the golf course. That outdoor fun, though, in some cases includes a price – an itchy rash from bugs you cannot even see.
They’re called chiggers — bugs so little you need a magnifying glass to spot them. They aren’t dangerous, but their bites can leave you with a powerful urge to scratch. Do not let them get the best of you! Find out how to soothe your irritated skin and find out how to prevent bites the next time you go outside.
Researchers call these creatures “trombiculid mites.” However they have a bunch of nicknames. You may hear people call them gather mites, harvest bugs, harvest lice, mower’s mites, or red bugs. Technically, these animals aren’t pests. They’re “arachnids,” in the exact same family as spiders and ticks.
You can take a trip around the world, but you can’t escape these insects. Chiggers reside in every nation. Their favorite spots are damp, grassy areas like fields, forests, as well as your yard. You can likewise discover them near lakes and streams.
Adult chiggers do not bite. It’s the babies, called larvae, that you need to keep an eye out for. They’re red, orange, yellow, or straw-colored, and no more than 0.3 millimeters long.
After they hatch from eggs, the babies do not fly and do not take a trip very far by themselves. They tend to stay clumped together in large groups on leaves and yard, typically less than a foot off the ground, and connect to animals or people as they go by.
In the United States, chigger bites are most typical in the late spring, summer season, and early fall. The bugs are active when the ground temperature is between 77 and 86 degrees F, and they pass away when it gets colder than 42.
What to Expect From a Chigger Bite
When chiggers latch on to your trousers or t-shirt, they crawl around till they find a spot of skin. There, they use sharp, jaw-like claws to make small holes. Next, they inject saliva that turns a few of your cells into mush.
Why do they do it? To a chigger, those liquefied cells are food. When they get on you, they can remain connected to your skin for a number of days while they eat.
Chigger bites can occur anywhere on your body, but they frequently appear in clusters around the waist or lower legs. You might not see anything incorrect at first, however in a few hours you’ll begin to itch.
The itching normally lasts for several days and can in some cases keep you awake in the evening. You may also observe that your skin reddens and has bumps, blisters, or a hive-like rash that might take a week or more to recover.
If you’re a person and you get a chigger bite in your groin area, you might get a condition referred to as “summer season penile syndrome.” It causes swelling, itching, and difficulty peeing. This can last for a couple of days to a few weeks.
Chiggers don’t spread diseases. Your greatest health worry is that excessive scratching can cause more skin inflammation or an infection.
Treatment for Chigger Bites
If you think you’ve been around some chiggers, provide yourself a full body check. You might be able to see tiny red dots, either moving extremely rapidly or attached to your skin.
Your first step: Take a bath or shower and scrub your skin with soap and water. This washes off any chiggers that are still on you.
Using hot water, clean your clothes and any blankets or towels that touched the ground to kill any bugs that are still hanging on.
Then treat your bites with an over the counter anti-itch cream or lotion, like menthol, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone. You can also get relief if you take antihistamine pills or use a cold compress.
Chigger bites generally improve by themselves. But if yours are still troubling you after a few days, see your doctor. In rare cases, you may require steroid shots to relax itching and swelling. Your doctor might likewise ask you to take antibiotics if your bites become infected.
Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
If you’ve ever experienced the awful itching brought on by chigger larvae, you know that you’ll do almost anything to make it stop. Here are we share with you tested natural treatments for the itching. These are the solutions that really worked:
1. A Hot Shower
The best method to stop chiggers is to get rid of them before they connect and start spitting on the skin. This avoids the itching entirely. It can take chiggers a couple of hours to find a place to latch on to skin and begin drilling. If you can remove them during this window, you can frequently avoid the issue completely.
If you think you may have been exposed to chiggers, a hot shower within the first hour or two can assist remove them from the skin. Obvious other steps like using soap and scrubbing the skin can help too.
2. Baking Soda Scrub
These work best soon after direct exposure however can assist even when the severe itching sets in. It is also very simple. Simply make a paste of equivalent parts baking soda and water and rub on skin in the shower. Leave on for a couple of seconds prior to showering off.
Fair warning – this will sting like crazy, but it really helps stop the itch and beats keeping up all night itching.
3. Rub Salt In the Wound
Similar to the baking soda solution, this will sting, however it assists. The standard guidance is to blend some salt into some vapor-rub. Use a natural or homemade vapo-rub salve instead (like this one) to avoid the petroleum byproducts though.
The theory is that the menthol in the vapo-rub helps soothe the itching and the salt assists reduce the effects of the spit triggering the itch.
Whatever the science, this seemed to work the best. I mixed some Real Salt into my pre-made vapor rub and it offered some relief for the kids.
4. Or Spray It On
A salt water and natural tea spray likewise appeared to help. Make a strong chamomile tea and include a few tablespoons of natural salt. Keep this in a glass spray bottle in the fridge and use it some cooling and relaxing relief for itching.
5. Castor Oil
This is an old treatment that the entomologist suggested. It appeared to work, though it wasn’t the most effective remedy we tried. If you have castor oil around it might be worth a shot though. It can cure a number of the bumps and it did provide some itching relief.
6. Diatomaceous Earth
This remedy works remarkably well. It does eliminate any staying chiggers and dries the bumps to minimize the itching. Diatomaceous earth has many uses and can kill many little insects naturally. Spray it in your socks and on our boots next time while camping!
7. Natural Itch Cream
Numerous sources also advise using Calamine cream to calm the itch. I didn’t have this on hand however did have my homemade natural itch cream, which worked like a charm. Either of those need to assist calm the itch.
8. Cooling Aloe Vera
Mix 1/4 cup aloe vera (fresh or gel) and a drop of peppermint essential oil. Rub over skin to soothe the itching.
9. Magnesium Baths
We discovered that all of my detox baths appeared to calm the itching, but a plain magnesium or epsom salt bath worked best. Include 1 cup of epsom salt or magnesium flakes to a warm bath or try just including some sodium bicarbonate instead of making the paste above.
Prevention for the Bites
When you spend time outdoors in grassy areas, use an insect repellent that has DEET or wear clothes treated with an insecticide like permethrin. As you place on insect repellent, pay unique attention to areas where chiggers might travel from clothing to skin, like cuffs, necklines, and the leading edges of socks.
Some research studies show that natural sprays might assist keep chiggers away. Try ones that have actually oils made from citronella, tea tree, jojoba, geranium, or lemon turf.
And obviously, don’t make yourself a simple target for a hungry chigger. Wear long sleeves and long pants, with your pant legs tucked into long socks.
These simple suggestions lower your chances of getting chigger bites. Then you can enjoy the great outdoors– itch-free!