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The Annoying Facts Regarding Chiggers

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I write this article based on a personal experience.  Have you even been attacked by chiggers?  Not just one to two small bites, like royally attacked; 50 plus??

The reason for my question is because this happened to me and I have to say it is the most annoying, frustrating, and irritating feeling!  It feels like I have the chicken pox all over again!

I decided to write this article because after I was attacked I had no idea what to do or what to put on the bites to stop the itching.  I have to say I am on day six and still itch like crazy!!  Who knew these little creatures could be such a burden, literally.

I hope to educate you, my readers, on what chiggers are, how you can get them, things you can do for temporary relief, and ways you can prevent yourself from the annoying itch in the future.

Chiggers

According to; www.nih.com

Chiggers are tiny, six-legged wingless organisms (larvae) that grow up to become a type of mite. Chiggers are found in tall grass and weeds. Their bite causes severe itching.

The Profile of a Chigger

  • Chiggers are barely visible to the naked eye
  • They are red in color and may appear clustered in groups on the skin.
  • The juvenile forms have six legs
  • Adult mites have eight legs

Causes

Chiggers are found in certain outdoor areas, such as tall grass and weeds, and woodland edges.  Chigger mites infest human skin by contacting areas such as pant cuffs, shirt sleeves, collars, etc.  These annoying mites migrate in to the skin in search for optimal feeding ground (ewww!).  The mites insert their feeding structures into the skin and inject, yes inject, enzymes that cause destruction of host tissue.  The skin will then harden in the form of a feeding tube called stylostome (medicinenet.com).  The chigger larvae then feeds upon the destroyed tissue.  According to medicinenet.com, if the annoying mites are not disturbed (which is rarely the case because of they cause  substantial itching) they may feed through the stylostome for a few days.

Where chiggers are most likely to nest on your skin…

The chigger’s mouth and feeding structures are delicate and are best able to  penetrate the skin at areas of wrinkles, folds, or other  areas of skin that are thin.

Most bites occur around;

  • Ankles
  • Crotch and groin areas
  • Waist
  • Buttocks
  • Behind the  knees
  • Armpits

Symptoms

  • Severe itching
    • Itching usually occurs several hours after the chiggers attach to the skin.
  • Red pimple-like bumps or hives (sometimes it resembles a blister)
  • The intense itch is due to the stylostome and is usually the most intense during the first few days (Although, I have experienced nonstop intense itching for six days!)
  • The itching will continue for several days and may take up to two weeks to completely clear up

Treatment for Chigger Bites

Some people mistakenly believe that chiggers burrow in to the skin and that is where they remain.  This is false.  Some people apply rubbing alcohol, nail polish, and bleach thinking they are killing the pesky mites.  The fact is these mites do not live in the skin, so all of these methods are deemed ineffective.

Things that may help the inflammation;

  • Calamine Lotion
  • Corticosteriod
  • Antihistamines, such as; Benadryl
  • ChiggerX
  • Oatmeal baths

Chigger Complications

Usually chiggers will heal naturally but due to repetitive heavy scratching you can create skin wounds that may become infected by bacteria, creating a secondary infection (if this occurs, visit your doctor’s office).

Prevention of Chiggers

If you are like me and have experienced chiggers or are lucky enough to not have ever come into contact with them, here are so easy steps to try and prevent yourself in the future

  • Washing with soap and water after being outdoors
  • Immediately washing your clothes to kill any remaining chiggers on your clothes
  • Pay attention to outdoor temperatures; chiggers do not bite during colder temperatures but they are likely to be prominent during the fall months
  • Proper clothing;
    • Long sleeve pants and shirt
    • Thick socks
    • High shoes
    • Tuck pant legs into socks and/or shoes
  • Apply insect repellent (such as DEET) to body and/or clothing

Well that is the end of my educational rant regarding chiggers.  Protect yourself next time you venture outdoors so you don’t have to experience the annoying itch for days on end!  Have a great weekend my friends.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002309/

http://www.medicinenet.com/chiggers_bites/article.htm

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About the Author:

Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I am the face behind all of fmwicblog.com articles. I have an undergraduate degree in Broadcast/Journalism with a minor in Marketing. I completed my Master's in Health Communication in 2014. I work for a company called Family Medical Walk-In Clinic that is based out of Southwest Missouri. They are an Urgent Care facility based out of Springfield, MO. We decided to start this blog page to give our community a little something extra. I have found a passion for writing health related articles; I write articles based on what I think my readers want to know and learn more about. I don't want to overwhelm anyone with a bunch of medical terms, so I keep most of my articles simple and to the point. I want to thank those of you who are loyal to reading my weekly articles and also to my new readers. I hope you find this website informative but at the same time enjoyable!

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