Chiggers

Chiggers bite

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Chigger bites often leave a characteristic skin rash - red itchy bumps found in clusters. It looks like a pimple or pustule. In some cases, you might develop severe allergic reactions to chiggers bites and develop hives. Mostly, chiggers attack at areas where the clothing is tight. So, if you see red bumps on clustering on your skin in the groin or waist area, it might be chiggers.
Follow these steps to get immediate relief from chigger bites. The first thing that you should do is to take a warm shower and scrub your body properly with soap. If at all any chiggers are present on your skin, they will be removed. Second, you need to wash your clothes, bedding, shoes etc that you were using the moment you got bitten by chiggers. To get instant relief from rashes and itching, apply calamine lotion on the rashes. You can also take antihistamine tablets to curb allergic reaction to chigger bites.
Chiggers are extremely tiny (1/50th of an inch) and thus invisible to the naked eye. They are red in color, and if they cluster at one location, you might be able to see the larvae. Chigger rashes are red in color - tiny raised bumps on the skin. These have a bright-red dot right at the centre of the bump. These appear in groups, mainly where skin folds are present and/or the clothing is tightly hugging the body.
When a chigger latches on your skin, you won’t feel a thing. The itching becomes evident within 1-2 days of the chigger bite. The intense itching is because of the stylosome or the feeding tube which the chigger uses to dig deep into your skin. The total time taken for healing - including relief from itching and skin lesions, is usually 1-2 weeks.

Chiggers – The Unknown Arachnid

Scientifically known as trombiculid mites, chiggers are actually young larvae members belonging to the arachnid family. They are also called as red bugs, berry bugs, harvest mites, and scrub-itch mites. These creatures are minuscule and are visible only under a magnifying glass. They have a reddish appearance and are as small as 1/50th of an inch. Despite their small size, their bites are intense and excessively itchy. The adult trombiculid mite is practically harmless. It is the juvenile larvae that latch onto skin and causes irritation.

Chiggers microscopicThese mites mostly inhabit damp grasslands and bushes. Chiggers are considered to be parasitic larvae that feed extensively on humans, quails, frogs, rabbits, and few insects too. They are found all across the globe, mainly in moist surroundings such as grassy fields, forests, lakes, and ponds. Trombiculid mites experience the usual growth stages – egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Out of these, only in the larval stage does the mite attack the human skin.

Once these parasitic larvae have finished feeding on the human skin, they drop down and progress to the nymph and adult stages. In these stages, the organism is no longer parasitic in nature. When temperatures fall below 16 deg Celsius, they turn inactive. Below 4 degrees, these mites cannot survive.

Understanding the chigger bite

Human beings come in contact with chiggers while walking along moist grassy areas and tall weeds. These creatures, usually occurring in clusters, latch onto human skin. At this stage, it is impossible to detect them and brush them off the skin. They walk along the human skin and then gather at areas where the skin is thin, such as ankle, crotch, and groin areas. Once they detect a favorable location, they pierce the skin and release digestive enzymes into this incision. These enzymes start digesting the human cells, which acts as the source of food for them. Chiggers feed on the destroyed tissues through a feeding tube called as a stylostome.

This stylosome, that destroys and dissolves tissues, also hardens the surrounding skin area. This usually takes around 1-2 hours after the parasitic mite has latched onto the skin. A typical chigger bite creates enzymatic changes along with physical damage to the skin. This triggers an allergic reaction and immune responses from the body. Since the skin becomes pierced and exposed, it becomes susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. The intense itching is due two factors – first, due to an allergic response to the chigger’s saliva, and second due to the stylosome. Until this stylosome is dissolved by the body’s lymphatic system, the itching continues. This may take few days to a couple of weeks.

The tell-tale signs of a chigger bite

Chiggers biteInitially, a chigger bite is invisible to the naked eye. Once the chigger starts secreting enzymes through the stylosome, it starts showing visible signs:

  • Persistent itching at the spot of bite.
  • Reddish bump on the skin which might be raised or flat.
  • A skin blister which resembles a pustule or a pimple.
  • In case the individual has a severe allergic response to the bite, it may even cause hives to form.
  • When the chigger drops from the skin, it leaves behind a reddish dot on the bite location. This is where the stylostome was present.
  • Since chiggers usually live in clusters, their bites on human skin are also found in a similar manner.
  • Chiggers usually cluster around areas where the clothing is tight. That’s why one will find chigger bites mostly around the waist, ankles, behind the knees, and the crotch.
  • Chigger bites on male genital can cause serious swelling and itching along with intense pain during urination.

Diagnosis and treatment

There are no specific diagnostic tests in order to detect a chigger bite. A physician is able to detect a chigger parasitic attack just by observing the typical symptoms – reddish itchy bumps in clusters, found in the usual areas. The intense itching and hardening of skin due to the stylostome is also taken into consideration. The doctor will also try to inquire if the said individual was involved in any outdoor activity or had come in contact with marshy vegetation.

The treatment of these bites usually doesn’t require a medical intervention as they can be easily treated at home. The best remedy is to take a hot shower and use a medicated soap to clean the entire body. After this, apply over-the-counter antiseptic creams on the bites. It is advised not to scratch the bites since it could break the skin more and invite secondary bacterial infections.

Additionally, you can also take a look into these 100% safe products that will get you guaranteed relief from the itching.

Chiggers bite treatment-To soothe the intense itching, any hydrocortisone lotion or calamine lotion can be used. Since the larvae cannot survive below 4 degree Celsius, applying ice on the bite marks may help in reducing the itching. Oral antihistamines such as Benadryl can be taken to counter the allergic reaction.

You should visit the doctor if the symptoms continue to persist even after the above-mentioned remedies have been implemented. Alternatively, if the affected individual develops fever and chills and/or the swelling (with pus) due to the bite is more than usual, he/she should consult the doctor. To treat secondary infections, the doctor may prescribe you antibiotics.

Chigger bites – How to remain itch-free

The following precautionary methods can help one steer clear from such parasitic mite infestations:

  • After every outdoor activity, especially if done in grassy/marshy areas, wash your hands and feet with soap and water.
  • Wash your outdoor clothes with detergent and hot water, if you suspect a chigger mite infestation.
  • If you are visiting a chigger-infested zone, cover your whole body with protective clothing. Wear full-sleeved shirts, gloves, full-pants, and socks to avoid exposing any part of the skin to the mites.
  • Use mosquito repellent sprays/ creams on your body and clothing. This helps get rid of chiggers too.

Chigger mites bite when they are smaller and move around on six legs. They are in season from late spring to summer and can remain inside your home from 50-70 days without feeding. Once they feed and grow to adult sizes, they no longer bite humans. The chigger bite can itch badly, many times worse than a mosquito bite. However, chigger mites do not suck blood. They instead feed on human skin itself. They also form very tiny tube-shaped welts or blisters where they bite. Bromelain has an anti-inflammatory effect and also repels insects which may prove useful in this case. Bromelain is the active substance present in pineapples which is a strong antihistamine and can be used to get rid of the intense itching caused by chigger bites.

(The featured image is licensed by eric.ray under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License)

Facts

  • Chiggers bites are neither contagious nor they cause any health complications such as infections, even if their enzymes mix with the bloodstream.
  • Contrary to popular myth, these larvae, unlike other mites, don’t burrow into the skin.

Facts

  • The attack of a chigger is not like a bee stinging or a mosquito sucking the blood. They puncture the skin and feed on dissolved tissues.
  • Scratching a chigger off the skin by hand or shower is helpful since a scratched off chigger seldom bites.

Facts

  • Chiggers need shady and damp areas to thrive. Closely cropped lawns and marshy vegetations are their preferred habitat.

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Chigger bites often leave a characteristic skin rash - red itchy bumps found in clusters. It looks like a pimple or pustule. In some cases, you might develop severe allergic reactions to chiggers bites and develop hives. Mostly, chiggers attack at areas where the clothing is tight. So, if you see red bumps on clustering on your skin in the groin or waist area, it might be chiggers.
Follow these steps to get immediate relief from chigger bites. The first thing that you should do is to take a warm shower and scrub your body properly with soap. If at all any chiggers are present on your skin, they will be removed. Second, you need to wash your clothes, bedding, shoes etc that you were using the moment you got bitten by chiggers. To get instant relief from rashes and itching, apply calamine lotion on the rashes. You can also take antihistamine tablets to curb allergic reaction to chigger bites.
Chiggers are extremely tiny (1/50th of an inch) and thus invisible to the naked eye. They are red in color, and if they cluster at one location, you might be able to see the larvae. Chigger rashes are red in color - tiny raised bumps on the skin. These have a bright-red dot right at the centre of the bump. These appear in groups, mainly where skin folds are present and/or the clothing is tightly hugging the body.
When a chigger latches on your skin, you won’t feel a thing. The itching becomes evident within 1-2 days of the chigger bite. The intense itching is because of the stylosome or the feeding tube which the chigger uses to dig deep into your skin. The total time taken for healing - including relief from itching and skin lesions, is usually 1-2 weeks.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • If you are highly allergic to chigger bites, wear chemically pre-treated clothes.
  • While using a bug-spray pay special heed to exposed areas such as ankles, waist, and palms.
  • Use sprays with herbal ingredients such as lemongrass, jojoba, and geranium extracts.
Don'ts
  • Use bleach, alcohol, or any such substance to suffocate the chigger since these mites don’t live under the skin surface.
  • Forget to take a hot shower. If there are no provisions to take a shower, try dislodging the mites by brisk towel movements and crushing them.
  • Forget to change your bedding, as it might contain traces of mites. Wash all bed covers, blankets, and mattresses in hot water.

 

 

 

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AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Rick Simpson’s Oil: The truths and controversies of this cannabis product Rick Simpson's Oil is an extract from the much-controversial plant, Cannabis. What is the actual truth behind the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…