Have you suddenly experienced persistent itching with redness around an affected area all of a sudden and you are left scratching your head as to how it happened? You are sure it weren’t the mosquitoes, so what exactly bit you? If you just spent a lovely morning strolling around the park, sat down on the grass, there are chances that you are suffering from chigger bites. These nasty little buggers are hard to be seen under the naked eye but leave behind impactful effects that result in skin irritation and itching.
What are Chiggers?
Don’t fret if the term “Chiggers” is new to you because the same will be explained comprehensively in this and the upcoming sections of the article. To start off, chiggers, often known as red bugs, are minute larvae members of the arachnid family. These larvaes are almost negligibly small in size which makes it nearly impossible to view under the naked eye. Even with their considerably small size, these bugs have the ability to leave behind an impactful effect on the skin with their bites. It is not that hard identifying chigger bites and distinguishing them from mosquito bites because they look considerably different.
Chiggers are normally found around in long grasses, shrubs and basically in the wooded areas. These bugs thrive during warm and summer weather conditions which are why they are maximally noticed during the spring, summer or even the fall afternoons when the temperatures are considerably high and warm. The Chiggers need the warm temperature to stay alive and active and temperatures below 16 degree centigrade makes them inactive and they can’t withstand to live when the temperature falls down below 6 degrees.
How Do Chiggers Bite Humans?
The process of infestation of a chigger mite onto a human skin is primarily facilitated with subtle area of contact with any source of vegetation, be it grass or even just a forest trail.
It is a plain common myth that chiggers tend to remain inside the skin which is not actually true. Rather, chiggers “bite” the human skin by inserting their sharp pointed feeding structures into the skin and inject the enzyme that is ghastly for the human tissues. A stylosome, a hardened layer of skin is formed around the affected part of the bite which is what acts as a feeding tube for the chiggers. This is where they feed off of the dead tissue and blood and if not disturbed, can stay latched onto the skin for a few days before they fall off and die.
As the suction tube and the other feeding parts of the chiggers are delicate and not that firm, it is most likely that they tend to find a host in the delicate parts of the skin, primarily between skin folds or where the skin layer is thin. Majority of the bites are visible near the ankles, the groin region, and sometimes even the armpits and the back of the knee region.
How Does a Chigger Bite Look Like?
A chigger bite might resemble a mosquito bite is certain but not all the time. Majority of the time, a chigger bite often resembles that of a blister or a pimple. As multiple chiggers attack all at once, there are chances that the bite may get bigger in certain areas instead of just healing and that tends to prolong for a few days or even weeks. If not disturbed, the chiggers tend to stay latched onto the skin for multiple consecutive days which is why the bite may often stay persistent for a few days.
How to Treat Chigger Bites?
Due to the persistency of the chiggers to stay latched onto your skin even after their first bite, it is most likely that the after effects of the bite prolong for a few weeks. It is often hard to detect a chigger bite in the initial stage because the after effects of the bite aren’t instantly visible or felt which is how the chiggers successfully stay latched onto the skin for quite a few days altogether.
The most common two types of chigger prevention include:
- If you feel like you have a chigger bite, the first line of chigger bites treatment is to thoroughly wash the area with soap and water to get rid of the existent chiggers around the area. Sterilize the area of the bite with some anti-septic ointment or liquid and let it be.
- One thing that you definitely don’t want to do with chigger bites is to scratch them. This worsens the situation and may even result into an infection which is definitely not something you would want. If the itch gets worse, just apply some anti-itch cream or rub some ice over the affected area.
13 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites
Much like any other common treatment for the bug bites, even chigger bites have a whole lot of home remedies that actually work wonders for its cure. All you need to do is follow the process and you are pretty much good to go.
- Hot Shower
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Aloe Vera
- Baking Soda
- Bleach Bath
- Coconut Oil
- Vicks Vaporub
- Cold Compress
- Oatmeal Bath
- Olive Oil
- Essential Oils
1. Hot Shower for Chigger Bites
Hot shower works wonder for chigger bites. If you have successfully traced signs of chigger bites on your skin, just make sure to wash yourself off under a hot spray. This will wash away the chiggers latched onto your body and restrict further worsening of the situation.
- Take a warm shower, making sure that the water is not scalding hot but bearable.
- Use some mild disinfectant soap and scrub your body gently with it.
- After the shower, pat dry your skin making sure to not rub vigorously.
- Make sure to wash the clothes you wore in hot water as well.
- This entire process accounts for one of the best natural remedies for chigger bites.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar for Chigger Bites
Apple Cider Vinegar is enriched with amazing anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties which are amazing for healing chigger bites. It can be used in multiple ways to get rid of the itching along with the redness and sore skin that comes along with it.
- Mix two cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath full of water and soak in that water for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse off your body under a shower and pat dry to get rid of the excess water from the body.
- If the case of the bite is severe, directly apply some raw apple cider vinegar with a cotton pad and leave it on for 30 minutes or so and wash it off with some cold water.
- You can repeat this process twice a day to relieve itch from chigger bites.
3. Rubbing Alcohol Help Chigger Bites
Rubbing alcohol is rich in disinfectant and astringent properties which are exactly what helps in providing with a soothing feeling to the area of the bite. It also helps in avoiding the possibility of further infection that could be caused by the multiple chiggers in the affected area.
- Soak some cotton pads in rubbing alcohol and rub it over the affected area and leave it on.
- Repeat this process a few times throughout the day.
- Note that if you have sensitive skin, it is best to do a patch test first and if there are no reactions, and then proceed with the application.
4. Aloe Vera for Chigger Bites
Aloe Vera is rich in cooling properties along with anti-inflammatory properties too. These are what accounts for one of the best natural remedies for chigger bites. It can either be directly applied after extracting the pulp from the leaves or you can opt for the over the counter aloe vera gels that are readily available in the market.
- Directly apply the aloe vera pulp or the aloe vera gel over the bite and leave it on.
- It will provide with a cooling sensation which is amazing for the itching that comes with chigger bites.
- It also helps moisturize the area and prevents it from drying out even further.
5. Baking Soda to Get Rid of Chigger Bites
If you weren’t well versed with it, baking soda is an amazing remedy for the treatment of inflammation. This is exactly how it pans out in case of chigger bites too. The alkaline property of the baking soda helps neutralize the excessive enzymatic reaction that happens around the chigger bite. It also combats the uneasiness that one feels because of the itchiness around the area of the chigger bite and helps reduce the rashes and redness too.
- All you need to do is mix two tablespoons of baking soda with a tablespoon of water to make a thick paste.
- Apply this over the chigger bite and leave it on for 15-20 minutes or simply till it dries and then washes it off with cold water.
- You can also mix baking soda to your bath water and soak in it for 20 minutes and then wash it off with normal water.
6. Bleach Bath for Chigger Bites
Bleach is loaded with disinfectant properties which come a lot in handy when it comes to chigger bites treatment. The rough anti-septic properties of the bleach help in getting rid of the chiggers and helps restrict the further spreading of the bites.
- Add 1/4th or even ½ a cup of bleach to a tub full of water and soak your entire body in it, making sure that the affected area of the bite is soaked in as well.
- Stay in the tub for 15 minutes and ensure that your hair isn’t soaked in the bleach water because the same can aggravate the condition of the hair.
- Wash off your body under a shower and pat dry.
7. Coconut Oil for Chigger Bites
If you weren’t aware, coconut oil comprises of some of the basic chain fatty acids which are rich in lauric acid and capric acid that are loaded with amazing anti-inflammatory properties. These help in fighting the infections and the allergic reactions that are often caused because of the chigger bites. Not just that, the coconut oil also helps keep your skin moisturized which is yet another amazing benefit for healing chigger bites.
- Just directly apply some coconut oil over the affected areas of the bite and let it seep into the skin.
8. Deodorant for Chigger Bites
Deodorant is loaded with astringent properties because of the rubbing alcohol present in it. If you want to get rid of chigger bites or just relieve itch from chigger bites, the home remedy with deodorant is an amazing one to opt for.
- Just spray on some deodorant on the affected area of the bite and let it be.
- If you have sensitive skin, patch test first before proceeding with the application.
9. Vicks Vaporub for Chigger Bites
Yet another amazing chigger bites treatment is that with the Vicks Vaporub. The cooling menthol in the ingredients of it helps to relieve itch from chigger bites. Not just that, it even helps prohibit the possibility of developing rashes which is great too.
- Many people often tend to mix a pinch of salt with Vicks Vaporub and then apply it onto the area of the bite.
- Repeat this process once or two times more to completely get rid of chigger bites.
10. Cold Compress Can Help Chigger Bites
Cold compress is yet another amazing home remedy for healing chigger bites. It provides with a soothing effect over the bite and helps relieve itch from chigger bites too. If you have been itching the area, there are chances that you will aggravate the condition even further. Cold compress helps in cooling down the burning sensation from the itch.
- Fill a cold compress with ice cubes or cold water and just dab that over the affected area for substantial relief.
11. Oatmeal Bath for Chigger Bites
The oatmeal that you just had for breakfast has amazing properties for healing chigger bites too. It is loaded with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties which help in the chigger bites treatment. Ground oatmeal works best for this as a remedy.
- You can either use colloidal oatmeal and soak it in a bath full of water and stay there for 15 minutes or make a paste with colloidal oatmeal and water and apply it directly onto the affected area of the chigger bite.
- Leave it on till it dries and then remove the remnants with cold water.
- Moisturize the skin after.
[Check out more Benefits of Oatmeal Bath]
12. Olive Oil
Olive Oil is jam packed with Vitamin E and a number of other antioxidants which work together to soothe the harsh after effects of the chigger bites. It also helps moisturize the area with nutrients which further aids with the healing of chigger bites.
- Before applying olive oil, make sure to cleanse the area with soap and water and then pat dry and finally apply the olive oil there.
- You can even mix olive oil and honey together and apply the mixture on the chigger bite area.
[There are equivalent Benefits of Olive Leaves Too]
13. Essential Oils
Essential oils, like chamomile oil, doterra oil and tea tree oil, have amazing benefits for the treatment of chigger bites. These oils are often loaded with not just anti-inflammatory properties but anti-microbial properties as well which are a lot beneficial in healing the itch related with the chigger bites.
- Dab any of the suitable and available essential oil over your affected part of the bite and let the oil seep into the skin well.
- You can repeat this process a few times throughout the time for better and faster results.
Chigger Bites During Pregnancy
Pregnancy itself is a lot hard on its own and the chigger bites can make the experience even more irritating, if not tended to within time. Since pregnancy calls for a restriction on a number of food and such, it is always best to be wary of what you are going to opt for as a remedy for treating those buggers that cause the red inflamed skin.
It is best to opt for natural remedies that include topical application of the remedy rather than consumption of it. This ensures that you are not at least ingesting something for healing chigger bites that could be a possible threat to your health or your foetus’ health.
What Are the Possible Risks of Chigger Bites?
The question comes down to a yes or no answer of whether or not there are any possible risks attached with chigger bites. Unlike the ticks, chiggers don’t have the tendency to spread or make the situation worse or life-threatening. Except for the possible risk of inflammation and redness around the skin, there are not much risks attached with a chigger bite.
Symptoms of Chigger Bites
The common symptoms that most of the people witness with chigger bites include:
- Pimple or acne like bumps on the skin which are red in colour and are often accompanied with a red dot like structure in the centre.
- Itchiness around the affected area.
- Excessive scratching can even result in drawing out blood from the site of the chigger bites.
There are not many risks that come attached with chigger bites. The only symptom that one needs to mostly take care of is the itching which can intensity and get worse with the days. It is always advised to not scratch it vigorously because the same can often result in infection.
When to Go to the Doctor for Chigger Bites?
Now, let me first clarify for a fact that chigger bites on their own are not deathly or life-threatening. They usually don’t have any kind of risks attached to them which is why they can be amazingly treated with the simple home remedies. With that being said, in order to relieve itch from chigger bites, many people often tend to scratch the area vigorously which results in the formation of infection.
If the infections around the chigger bites get worse, it is time to see a doctor and get the problem checked out. There are sheer possibilities that the infection can gravitate towards something negative if left untreated which is why it is best to get it checked out by the doctor and administer the necessary treatment to cure it as soon as possible.
Chigger Bites Vs Flea Bites Vs Beg Bugs
Chigger bites, flea bites and bed bugs are a lot different in comparison to each other. All of these have their significant characteristic appearance which is what makes it easier to distinguish them from each other.
Let us Start With Chigger Bites Vs. Flea Bites.
Chigger bites are primarily seen around the summer or spring season when the weather is warm and favourable for their action unlike flea bites, which can occur the entire year round. Flea bites are not characterized by red colouration around the bumpy area of the bite which is one of the characteristic features of chigger bites. Chigger bites are normally characterized by red bumps with a red dot in the middle of it.
Chigger bites are normally contracted from areas of vegetation and woody places while the fleas tend to reside more around the beaches and sand. Normally, flea bites are not clustered in one single place but the case is a complete opposite in case of chigger bites where the bites are often times clustered around one single area.
Now that We Have That Covered, Let’s Talk About Chigger Bites Vs. Bed Bugs
These two kinds of bites are very hard to distinguish because of the fact that they have a very similar appearance. But, even then, a close look at them can help you understand the starking difference that they have. The Bedbug bites are often times characterized by small red bumps dispersed around the affected area of the bite while on the other hand, chigger bites are primarily characterized by a pimple or acne like red bumps which are localized and clustered in a particular area.
There are possibilities of bed bugs biting is a straight line which is not the case with chigger bites which are randomly done.
Food for Thought With Some FAQs
A. Normally, it is observed that chiggers tend to bite in a localized region and not spread out. They tend to attack the thin layers of skin and bite around a single location and not spread to the adjoining areas of the skin.
2. Does Nail Polish Help With Chigger Bites?
A. The nail polish remedy might temporarily hold off and cure the itch, it doesn’t necessarily kill the chiggers or not even block the opening of the stylosome like many think it does. It just provides temporary relief from the itching which is exactly what it does, without any kind of exaggeration.
3. Why Do Chigger Bites Itch?
A. This definitely is a very thoughtful question owing to the fact that there is a comprehensive process involved in the process that chiggers attach onto the skin and infests its enzymes. It is the stylosome part that itches the most and the same stay persistent even after a few days. The injected enzymes cause the nearby tissue to die which makes the area rough and scratchy and thus the itching.
4. Can Chigger Bites reappear?
A. They surely can. These chiggers can infest in any part of your body whenever you are close to their habitat, irrespective of the time or place. These bugs can latch onto the body and cause inflammation and rashes at any time, especially during the summer and spring season.