Ever experienced getting rashes from unknown insects? The one that you usually get when you walk in a park at night or when you bond with your family during the afternoon. Though you might not be able to see where the bites come from, there is a chance that you get chigger bites.
Chiggers are bugs that are tiny. Even if you try to see these bugs, you will not be able to. Those who truly want to see chiggers would require a magnifying glass to see them. The good news is that these bugs are not dangerous. Just be careful of their bites as these can give you a good urge to scratch.
Also called trombiculid mites, chiggers come from the family of ticks and spiders. They also got a lot of nicknames including red bugs, harvest bugs, and harvest lice. Surprisingly, there is no way you can avoid them. They can be found in every country. Most of the time, you can find it on the law, forest, and fields. Chiggers are attracted to places that are grassy and moist.
Another interesting fact about these is that adult chiggers are not biters. The chiggers that bit or will bite you are the babies, or also known as larvae. These baby chiggers are more than 0.3 millimeters long and are usually straw-colored, yellow, orange, and red.
When the adult chigger gives birth and the babies were able to hatch as eggs, they will not fly or travel immediately. Instead, they are clumped together. You might even see them on grass or leaves. Sometimes, when an animal or a person does not see these chiggers, there is a tendency that these will attach to the passerby.
If you are residing in the US, you will notice that there is a higher tendency of you getting a chigger bite during the early fall, summer, or late spring. This is because chiggers are active when the temperature is 77 and 86 F. When the temperature goes up to 42, the bugs die.
How are You Bitten by these Bugs?
Say, you decided to have a stroll at the park. You are currently enjoying your stay without knowing that there are chiggers latching on your shirt or pants. They will continue to do this until they find your skin. Once they reach your body, they will use their claws to make small holes. Then, the bugs will inject saliva that has the tendency to make your cells transform into mush.
The reason these bugs do that is that your cells are their food. They will continue to stay in our skin, continuously eating your cells.
Unlike other animal bites, chigger bites are unnoticeable in the first few minutes. You will only know that there is a chigger bite when you start to itch in your legs or waist. The itching will not go away easily and can actually keep you awake at night. It can last for several days as well. In addition, the bites may look like a rash, blister, or red with bumps.
Men are most likely to suffer from these bites especially when the bite is located in the groin area. Studies call this as summer penile syndrome that can lead to itching, swelling, and even trouble in peeing.
Although chigger bites do not actually spread diseases, it can be worrisome if the itching lasts for more than a month as it can lead to infection or skin irritation.
What Should You Do?
If you find these chigger bites in your body, you should immediately head to your doctor for a check-up. In the event that the clinic is closed or your preferred doctor is not around, you can do the following:
- Immediately shower or take a full bath. Make sure that you scrub your body with water and soap. This will help wash away the chiggers that are still in your body.
- Then, wash your body with hot water. You can also do this to your towels and blankets or any object that you think has contact with the bugs.
- Buy ointments or itch creams. You can also purchase lotions or antihistamine pills.
- Apply a cold compress on the itchy areas.
Once you have done everything, you rest assured that the bites will go away after a few weeks. But if you are worried about your skin, you can always approach your doctor. He or she may give you steroid shots to lessen swelling or itching. When the bites become infected, you can take antibiotics.
Chigger Bites Prevention
Of course, no one wants to get bitten by chiggers. Itching and having red spots on your body is irritating and uncomfortable. This is why you need to make sure that you have preventive measures to avoid getting chigger bites.
What you can do is to bring insect repellent whenever you decide to go to grassy areas. It will also be helpful to wear clothing that has insecticides. Using bug sprays may be effective as well so be sure that you will apply it to areas where chiggers can come from.
There are also studies that show that natural spray is effective in preventing chigger bites. If you
are planning to use one, be sure that it contains oils from lemongrass, geranium, jojoba, tea tree, and citronella.
Wearing appropriate clothes like long sleeves and long pants when staying in grassy areas is a must. This will make you invisible to chiggers. Socks should be worn at all times as well. When you have successfully done these, you will no longer worry about getting chigger bites.
Chiggers are bugs that are attracted to skin. Their bites can be uncomfortable and can even lead to skin infections. So what you can do is to use bug sprays and wear long clothes whenever you go to grassy and moist areas. Not only will you be chigger bite-free, but you will also enjoy your bonding with your family and friends.