Chigger bites can occur among those who spend time outdoors. Chiggers are very small and could not be seen without using a magnifying glass or microscope.
When it bites, it cannot be usually felt until itchiness and rashes arise after 12-24 hours. Take note that chiggers feed on a thin skin layer. They will also start to feed upon reaching a barrier such as the waistband of clothes or the armpit.
Once chiggers attach on the skin, they introduce saliva with digestive enzymes which break down the skin cells that the chigger drinks. These enzymes are responsible for the itchy rash.
Management of chigger bites
Measures that help ease the itchiness is highly beneficial which includes:
- Taking a bath or shower right after possible exposure to chiggers
- An over-the-counter medication for itchiness such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion
- Prescription-strength steroid cream
- Oral diphenhydramine
Even though chiggers are not carriers of disease, the bites can become infected. This puts one at risk for infection.
Since chiggers are difficult to spot, it is vital to be aware on measures to avoid them and being bit.
- Encourage children to avoid certain ways that increases the possibility for chigger bites such as using sleeveless shirts, sandals without any socks and shorts.
- Wear long pants made of tightly woven fabrics, long-sleeved shirts and shoes or high-knee boots.
- Tuck the pants into the shoes or boots
- Insect repellants can be applied on exposed skin such as the ankles, neck, wrist and waist. These areas are where chiggers gain entry to the rest of the body via the shirt, shoes and pants.
- Keep the garden or yard properly trimmed and any infested areas must be treated with an insecticide.