Chigger bite is one of the most feared arachnids’ bites, because it causes intense itchy sensation and/ or pain. Chiggers can be described as larvae of certain kind of mite belonging to the family of Trombiculidae. Mites are classified in arachnid category with other bugs such as spider as well as ticks. Chiggers are arachnid found almost everywhere in the world. These chiggers are mostly found in places such as grassy fields, forests, and other moist places such as river sides or lake sides. The larvae that usually cause chigger bites require significant amount of humidity in order to survive. Hence, they are found in plants and grasses which are closer to the ground level.
Appearance of chiggers
Chiggers are very tiny arachnids which are almost invisible to bare human eyes. They measure lesser than approximately 1/150th of one inch. These chiggers are reddish in color and may be best seen when they are present in clusters. The juvenile form of chigger has six legs whereas adult chiggers may have eight legs. It is also believed that adult chiggers are harmless.
How chiggers bite humans (Chigger Bites Spreading Information)
Chigger mites may contact human skin through areas such as green field, vegetation, etc. They may find their way into pant cuffs, sleeves of shirt and collar and travel on the skin to search for best feeding region on the body. There is a widespread myth that these chiggers penetrate into skin and remain inside. However, this is just a myth and is studied to be false. In fact, these chiggers penetrate their sting or mouthpart and inject harmful substance which is made up of enzymes. These substances are not extremely harmful. However, these enzymes may cause destruction of tissues around the penetrated skin region. Destruction of tissue then leads to hardening of surrounding skin which causes the formation of stylostome (tube formed for feeding of these mites). Then these larvae chiggers feed on the destructed tissues. These larvae have the potential to feed on the stylostome for a few days if they are left undisturbed. But this seldom happens as the bite of termite causes substantial itching.
The chiggers’ mouthpart which is used for feeding is delicate and optimal for penetrating through the skin, especially at the area of wrinkles and fold or other skin regions that are thin. The chigger bite usually occurs in regions such as groin, rear of knee, ankle, armpits and crotch etc. Sometimes compression of cloths disables these mites to travel from one place to other. This also prevents chiggers bite on other body parts.
Symptoms of chiggers bites
The bites of chiggers are quite noticeable and this itself is a symptom. Typical symptoms such arachnid bites starts with one to three hours from the time enzyme injection in the skin by chigger. Here are some symptoms of bites from such insects.
• Significant itching is perhaps the most common symptoms
• The bitten area may turn red and protruded slightly and may look like besters or even pustule.
• The itchy sensation usually occurs due to stylostome and may turn intense with one to two days after the injection of venomous substance
• The itching persists for more than a few days and it may take approximately two week for the lesions to ebb away completely.
These are some common symptoms of chigger bites there may be other symptoms such as rashes, etc which can be noticed on the skin.
Treatment for chigger bites
Chiggers bite treatment includes various techniques as well home based remedies. However, there are also some home based treatments which are based on the belief that chiggers penetrate in skin and stay in for few days. In such as case nail polish, alcohol etc were applied on the bitten region in order to suffocate the mites, but since the chiggers are not present in the skin these treatments are not effective.
However medical treatments for chigger bites are focused on treating and alleviating inflammation as well as itchy sensation. There are certain lotions such as calamine lotion and corticosteroid cream that can be used for controlling itchiness. Orally administrated anti- histamine such as Benadryl may also help in reliving certain symptoms.
Complications of chigger bites: There are no long- term complications associated with chigger bite alone. However, prolonged scratching due to intense and persistent itching sensation may cause bacterial infection. Hence, it is suggested to avoid scratching the region and use medicine to alleviate itching.
Prevention of chigger bites
Taking a shower using, detersive and water, after any outdoor activity, will help in eradicating any chiggers that may have transferred to your body. Washing away these mites from your body will reduce the chances of you getting bitten by these insects. Similarly, you should wash your outfit as well, that was you put- on during the outdoor activity. This will eliminate chiggers if remained in cloths.
Understanding the temperature of outdoor location will help in preventing bites of chiggers. To your information chiggers do not dwell in colder temperature measuring less than 60 Fahrenheit. These mites are also not found in regions where climate is hotter with temperature more than 99 degree Fahrenheit. Hence, places such as hot rocky regions and sunny days can be the best place and time to prevent bite from chiggers.
Similar to mosquito bites, wearing appropriate cloths during outdoor activities will help in preventing bites form these mites. For example it is best to wear long pants and high- ankle boots when you are going in places such as forest of grassy fields. Try to wear thick socks with the boots for double protection. If you wear high ankle boots then you can also tuck your pants in the boots which helps in preventing bite from such parasites. Additional protection can be ensured by wearing long sleeved shirts. There are certain lotions that may help in preventing these mites from traversing to your body. However there is no specific lotion that may particularly prevent chigger bites but you may check with your chemist whether they have any such lotions. Try taking such preventive measures as prevention is always better than cure.
Chigger bite pictures
Here are Chigger bites pictures that show how various parts of the skin is affected by the bite of the insect.