Chigger bite is a common occurrence throughout the world as numerous people get bitten by these arachnids. In majority of cases, these bites are not serious and may not need any medical intervention. But sometimes due to rigorous scratching, the condition may aggravate. Chiggers are arachnids or larvae of a kind of mite from the Trombiculidae family. Chiggers can be found in almost all regions of the world. These are categorized as arachnids with other species such as ticks and spiders. They are highly found in grassy land, woods, gardens, forest, lake-side, river side and other moist regions. The larvae that is often responsible for chigger bites need humidity to remain alive. This is why plants and grass serve as an ideal dwelling place for them.
Chigger bites are unavoidable to a certain extent because chiggers are extremely small enough to be sighed upon easily. These are usually red in color and may have legs whereas fully grown chiggers may have 8 legs. The funny thing is while the adult chiggers do not harm, the little ones are known to bite.
How do chiggers bite ?
Chiggers have extremely tiny claws which enable them to stick to human or animals. After reaching the skin, it penetrates through the skin and releases its saliva into the body through the puncture. The saliva contains substances that can dissolve the skin cells. Chiggers feed on these cells that get dissolved due to digestive juices present in the saliva. If they are left undisturbed on the skin, they may feed on for few days. Chiggers fall away after a couple of day and red bump appears on the punctured area. Chigger bites are often reddish bumps which may also appear like pimples, blisters and hives. Bites usually occur around ankles, waist and warm skin creases.
The bites may start to enlarge overtime and may appear in clusters. It may cause itchy sensation hours after the mite has attached itself to the host’s skin. After the chigger has released the skin area the itchy sensation may take a couple of days to heal while the bite heals in around 2 weeks time. ‘Summer Penile Syndrome’ is a condition which occurs as reaction to chigger bite on the penis. This condition may lead to pain during urination or cause itchiness and swelling of the organ.
Chigger bite complications
The very bite does not pose harm because there are is no serious issues associated with bites from this mite. Nevertheless, the condition may aggravate due to rigorous scratching because of theintense itchy sensation. Nails have numerous bacteria which may enter the punctured area of the skin and make you vulnerable to infections. Hence, chigger bite patients are often recommended topical lotions to alleviate itching.
Chigger bite symptoms
There are certain symptoms that can indicate that you are bitten by a chigger. But these symptoms may also be misdiagnosed as they are found in various other cases. It may take around 3 to 4 hours for typical symptom of arachnid bites to become obvious. Some of such symptoms include:
- itching which may turn intense in a few days
- Pustules, blisters or bumps occurring on the bitten spot mostly reddish in color
- Swelling of the bitten area
- Occurrence of lesions which may take around two weeks to get cures
Chigger bite treatment
There are several techniques as well as home remedies that can be adopted for dealing with chigger bites. In many cases the condition ebbs away without any medical intervention. In cases wherein symptoms are intense, medical attention may be needed. The treatment mainly focuses on alleviating the symptoms. For example, to deal with itchiness caused due to the bite, topical applications such as calamine lotion and corticosteroid creams may be suggested by the doctor. Some symptoms can be managed with oral anti-histamine medicines. In case, if the doctor detects infection or allergic reaction due to bite, then he may suggest suitable medicines to deal with infection.
When you think a chigger is feeding on you, try to take it away from your skin. Clean the bitten area with cold water and antiseptic lotions. You can also use clinical spirit, tincture, etc on the bitter region. Some people suggest applying alcohol or nail polish on the bitten area.
It is better to prevent chiggers from dwelling in or around your house which will significantly reduce your chances of bite. Ensure that your house is clean and vacuumed regularly. It should not have any region where chiggers may dwell. If you have old stocks of things lying around the house, then chances of chiggers being around is higher. Call for pest-control which can eradicate chiggers completely from your house. If you spent too much time outdoors, especially in regions where chiggers may dwell, wearing protective full sleeve clothes is suggested. These measures will help you prevent chigger bites.