Chigger bites are a common problem worldwide. These young mites usually live and feed on plants.
When you come close to a plant, chigger mites living on it might cling to your clothes. They migrate to the skin in search of food. Once they reach your skin, they will immediately bite your skin, causing intense irritation and pain.
Chigger bite symptoms
Contrary to popular belief, chigger mite could not penetrate the skin. It remains on the surface of the skin. It injects an enzyme into the skin by inserting its narrow feeding structure into the skin.
The enzyme destroys the neighboring skin tissues, and the chigger feeds on the dead tissues. Chigger bites usually occur in the armpits, around the ankles, behind the knees and around the groin area. The symptoms of chigger bite develop 1 to 2 hour after the chigger injects the enzyme into the skin.
The bite causes intense itching. The affected area becomes swollen and red. The itching might last for several days. The blisters caused by chigger bite usually heal within a fortnight.
Chigger bite treatment
To reduce the itching, you can apply calamine lotion to the bite site. Intense itching and pain could be treated with corticosteroid creams. Often antihistamines are prescribed for treating the symptoms of chigger bite. Oatmeal baths are often effective in alleviating the symptoms of chigger bite.
Mild scrubbing with cooked oatmeal could easily remove the chiggers from your skin. You can apply ice to the affected area to reduce the inflammation and redness. The itching might force you to scratch the bite site.
However, scratching worsens itching and increases the risk of secondary infection. You can apply numbing creams to the chigger bite site. The risk of secondary infection could be preventing by applying antibiotic creams.
To prevent chigger bites, you should take a bath soon after visiting an area infested by mites. Washing your skin with soap and water is sufficient for removing the chiggers trying to attach themselves to the human skin.