Chiggers have a bad reputation of inflicting bites that cause horrible itching. It is not the adult mites that cause bites on humans and other vertebrate animals, but the larvae that possess six legs (adults have eight). Chiggers are parasitic, and their food is derived from the skin of the host. It is a common misconception that chiggers feed on the blood of the host. They look for areas with delicate skin, so as to get attached, and make a hole with their mouth parts. Through these holes, they inject saliva with digestive enzymes that dissolve the outer membranes of the cells of the skin. Chiggers feed on the skin membranes only and do not burrow into the skin of the host. This feeding process creates a hole in the skin and this hole is formed as a result of the hardening of the surrounding tissues. It takes around three to four days for the chiggers to complete a meal, but most often, these larvae get removed, as the host gets irritated with the bite, and starts scratching.
How to Cure
The most prominent symptom of chigger bite is severe itching that starts within three hours of the bite. The site may get reddened and sometimes raised too. Even blisters may appear on the skin, due to chigger bites. The symptoms may last for around two weeks, till the lesions get healed. Sometimes, these wounds may get infected too. Given below are some of the common home remedies for chigger bites.
- Hot Water and Soap: If you get inflicted with chigger bites, the first and foremost thing to do is to use hot, soapy water to wash the area.
- Antihistamines: In order to relieve swelling and itching, calamine lotion or corticosteroid creams can be used. Oral antihistamines can also be taken as chiggers cure, after consulting a health practitioner.
- Antiseptic Ointment: Application of antiseptic ointment is beneficial to ward off secondary infections. Avoid scratching the area, as it may lead to infections. Helichrysum oil application is also used for relief from itching.
- Baking Soda/Aspirin: Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply it on the affected part. Even powdered aspirin is said to provide relief from chigger bite symptoms.
- Salt and Vicks Vaporub: Mix some salt with a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub. Apply this on the bite. This remedy is said to be effective in reducing the swelling and itching to a great extent.
- Hairdryer: A hairdryer can be used to blow hot air on the affected area. This could provide relief from itching.
- Clear Nail Polish: Apply some clear nail polish over the area. This may sometimes provide momentary relief, as the area is sealed without air contact. The idea behind using nail polish is said to be based on the misconception that chiggers burrow into the skin and remain there. The nail polish coating is meant to suffocate the chiggers.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.