What Are Chiggers?

Chiggers, or redbugs, are tiny red mites that can cause itching, and burning sensations when they come in contact with human skin. Chiggers are very small, almost microscopic, and can be difficult to spot with the naked eye. They are found throughout the world in grassy or wooded areas and are most active in the summer months.

Identifying Chiggers

Chiggers are reddish in color and have eight legs. You may not be able to see them due to their small size – they are typically less than 1/150th of an inch in size – but they can be found in areas where they have been feeding on plants or animals.

How Do Chiggers Affect You?

When chiggers come into contact with human skin, they may attach themselves and inject digestive enzymes that cause the skin to break down, resulting in an itchy, burning sensation. This sensation can last for several days and may be accompanied by a rash.

Preventing Chigger Bites

To prevent chigger bites, it is important to dress appropriately and avoid walking through heavily vegetated areas. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes when in grassy areas and take steps to limit skin contact with plants and grass. Additionally, insect repellents containing DEET can help to repel chiggers and other insects.

Treating Chigger Bites

If you have been bitten by chiggers, you may be able to relieve some of the itching and irritation with the following remedies:

    • Apply a cold compress – Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area may provide temporary relief.
    • Take an antihistamine or apply a topical steroid cream – These can both be used to help reduce itching. Talk to your doctor before using either of these treatments.
    • Take an oatmeal bath – Colloidal oatmeal can be added to a lukewarm bath to help relieve itching and irritation.

There is a common misconception that misidentifies chiggers as insects. In fact, chiggers are actually the larvae of a type of mite. Chiggers are invisible to the naked eye and found in areas with tall grass and vegetation. The larvae attach themselves to human skin through a process called “hatching” and feed on tissue fluid. This can be a nuisance as the toxins from their saliva have been known to cause itching, swelling, and redness around the area they attach.

Chiggers are most often found in wet, shady locations like grass, bushes, and low-lying weeds. Chiggers can be found in the soil or crawling on surfaces. Even though they are small, they can still be detected by sensations like unpleasant itching, burning, and swelling. In order to prevent infestations, one must ensure that these areas are kept clean and that all tall grass and vegetation are cut down.

Treatment of chigger infestations typically involves applying antiseptic lotions or using anti-itch creams. Anti-itch creams can temporarily relieve the itching, whereas antiseptic lotions can help minimize the swelling. In some cases, a doctor may have to prescribe oral medication to speed up the healing process.

Overall, chiggers can be a huge nuisance for homeowners and others living in grassy, wet, and shady areas. It is important to take the necessary steps to prevent any chigger infestations as well as to know how to treat them if an infestation does occur. With the right knowledge and preparation, one can easily stay comfortable and itch-free.

Also Read: Lice

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