Along with pictures of chigger bites, photos; we uncover its symptoms, treatment and other facts.
A chigger bite is a bite from a very small mite called chigger. It causes intense itchiness and red bumps on the skin and is a common nuisance during summer, spring and fall. People who love to stay outdoors are most prone to suffer this irritating bite. It does not cause any serious medical complications but the intense itchiness prompts the person to scratch the bite site endlessly which could then lead to secondary infection.
Treatment for a chigger bite hopes to provide a great deal of relief from itchiness. There are home care treatments to help address the annoying effects of chigger bites. Medications may also be used to treat any secondary infection resulting from endless scratching. But treatment is not completely effective if the root cause of problem, chigger infestation, is not eliminated. Several steps should be taken to get rid of chigger infestation and prevent getting bitten by chiggers the second time around.
What are chiggers ?
Chiggers are microscopic mites that belong to the Trombiculidae family. A chigger is an arachnid similar to ticks and spiders. Its microscopic larva has six legs while the adult chigger has eight. Chiggers thrive in high-humidity areas like forests, gardens, parks, grass fields, lakes and rivers. Unlike ticks which feed on blood, the chiggers’ source of nourishment is skin cells. That is why they don’t have to dig deeper into the skin. Digestive enzymes are injected into the prey’s skin through a chigger bite causing the skin tissues to degrade. If left undisturbed, chiggers could feed up to a number of days.
Most chigger bites occur after spending some time outdoors such as when gardening, or just by sitting on the lawn. This is because chiggers love to stay on the grass which gives them easy access to human body through the clothes. Chigger bites have been found to occur more frequently during the summer months when weeds and grass flourish.
Difference between a chigger bite and other bites
It is hard to detect chiggers due to their size. However, their bites are distinguishable by the reddish and itchy swelling. Intense pain can likewise be felt two days after getting bitten. The bite may look like a pimple which increases in size if left untreated. Chiggers leave the bite site when cleaning, scratching or applying antiseptic lotion. However, itchiness may still be felt after a week or two due to hardening of the surrounding tissues as the chigger feeds itself.
A chigger bite can be observed in the thin-layered areas of the skin, folds and wrinkles as these allow chiggers to inject their saliva and get nourished. That is why chigger bites are more visible in the groin, crotch, torso, behind the knees, armpits, feet and ankles. A chigger bite does not cause chronic complications but could become infected as a result of prolonged intense scratching. But in Japan, chiggers help in transmitting a disease known as scrub typhus which causes a wide range of symptoms.
Chigger bite treatment
There are plenty of ways followed by many people in treating chigger bites. However, many of these treatment methods were proven ineffective because they are based on misconceptions about chiggers. Chigger bite treatment is aimed towards reducing the itchiness and swelling. As what is usually done for a typical insect bite, bites from chiggers must be thoroughly washed using soap and water. It would be best for the victim to take a shower to remove the chigger larvae on the skin.
Here are some of the effective ways to treat chigger bites.
- Topical creams, lotions and ointments
Swelling and itchiness can be resolved by applying topical creams and ointments that contain antihistamine. Creams containing steroids have been used as well to speed up the recovery. Calamine lotion had been proven effective in relieving itchiness and swelling too.
- Essential oils
Tea tree oil as well as tamanu can be applied to the affected skin 2 to 3 times daily.
- Natural remedies
There are myriad of natural remedies for chigger bites. The more popular remedies used these days are baking soda paste, cold compress and oatmeal paste. Baking soda paste will inhibit the flow of blood to the affected area, thereby reducing swelling. Cool compress with ice wrapped in cloth also helps in relieving itchiness. This should be done several times daily. Oatmeal paste also addresses itchiness.
Certain drugs could be used to manage chigger bites as well. It should be noted though that their effectiveness varies from person to person, depending on how severe the symptoms are. Oral antihistamines could be used in controlling allergies, while aspirin can reduce pain and itchiness. Over the counter numbing agents along with pain relievers could also be used. Antibiotic ointments are employed to treat secondary skin infection.
Chigger bite treatment could last a couple weeks or more depending on the severity of the bite. Victims should take precautionary measures when spending time outdoors to prevent future incidence of chigger bites.
Chigger bite pictures
Here are chigger bite photos that show you how these bites look