Useful Tips

How to treat and prevent chigger bites


Chiggers are ticks: tiny insects about 1/50 inch long. They are almost invisible unless they accidentally come together on your skin. They are red, minors have six legs, and adults have eight. Seen under a magnifying glass, they look like tiny red spiders. Chiggers love wet lawns, including lawns and fields. They are transmitted to people through contact with grass, shrubs and vegetation. Chiggers do not tolerate disease, but can cause severe itching.

About chiggers and chiggers bites

Chigger ticks go through four stages of life: eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. Only the larvae are parasitic, therefore they are so small and difficult to see. Chiggers lay their eggs on the ground, and when the eggs hatch in warm weather, the larvae move along the ground and low-lying vegetation until they find a host, that is, an animal that can be fed. Most of the interaction with people begins with legs, feet, or hands that come in contact with the vegetation.

Unlike mosquitoes that bite where they land, chiggers can move around their skin to find a good place to eat. Belts and tight clothes do not allow them to move on, so chigger bites are often found around the waist or near elastic belts. Other favorite places are places where the skin is thin: near the groin, behind the knees or in the armpits.

One common myth that chiggers hide in their skin is not true. Instead, they inject enzymes into the skin, which destroy surrounding tissues. Then the chiggers swallow the dead tissue. Since this activity can cause severe itching in the host, chiggers, as a rule, cannot feed for a long time, if they are left alone, they can feast for several days.

Unlike ticks and mosquitoes, chiggers do not tolerate diseases, which means that contact with them is not dangerous in itself. Unfortunately, however, chigger bites are incredibly itchy. The worst part is that chiggers move in large groups, so you are unlikely to feel just one chigger bite.

What are chiggers?

Chiggers are very small and almost invisible to the naked eye. At a size of about 150 inches, most people need a magnifying glass to notice them. These mites look like tiny spiders, are colored red and tend to group into groups on human skin. They are really visible only in groups.


Chiggers are most common in the spring and fall months. Although chiggers can be found throughout the United States, they are more common in the warmer southern and midwestern states.

Common places to find chiggers include:

  • long and overgrown grass in the fields and gardens.
  • the woods
  • grassy areas around lakes and rivers
  • berry patches
  • under the stones
  • among the weeds
  • where a large number of rodents are present.
  • high humidity areas

The easiest way to avoid chigger bites is to simply not walk on long grass, bushes, or other places where chiggers may be present. However, this is not an option for everyone.

People who still enter contaminated areas should use insect sprays containing DEET. The chemical should be sprayed onto both skin and clothing. People should not apply DEET to infants under 2 months of age or allow children to apply repellents on their own.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), permethrin is a good insect spray for clothing. It kills Higgers, as well as mosquitoes and ticks.

When using permethrin, a person should treat their clothes 1 or 2 days before wearing in the wild to allow them to dry. Users must follow the labeling instructions for all pesticides that they can use.

When in long grass, it is recommended to wear high boots. Pants should also be worn and tucked in socks. It is also recommended that people wear a belt and long-sleeved shirts. This deprives Higgers of direct access to the skin.

As soon as a person leaves the infected area, he must immediately remove and wash his clothes. Then it is recommended to take a hot shower or bath, wiping the body with soap.

The less time is spent among contaminated vegetation, the less likely chiggers get on human skin.

If a person combs grass or other vegetation where chiggers are present, these mites can quickly stick to their skin. If chiggers bite someone, they can do a few things.

  • Over-the-counter shame medications: They help a person well not to scratch bites. These drugs include hydrocortisone or calamine lotion.
  • Ice: If a person does not have access to medicines right away, then applying ice to bites is a good way to relieve him of the urge to scratch himself.
  • Bath or shower: A person should take a bath or shower when he realizes that he has bitten a chigger. Scrubbing with soap and water is a good way to remove all the other Higgers that may remain on the body. This will prevent further bites.

Chigger bites usually heal a week or so. However, if the bite persists for a long period of time, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

A doctor may prescribe steroid vaccines to soothe itching and swelling, although this is only rare. If the bites become infected, the doctor may also prescribe antibiotics.

Chigger Bites

Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into the skin, do not feed on human blood, and cannot tolerate disease. However, they feed on human skin cells, although only young forms of these ticks do this.

When a person bites, chiggers insert their nutritional structures into the skin. Before eating, Higgers inject an enzyme into the skin to thin tissues. This action makes a hole in the skin, and then the skin around this hole hardens, forming a feeding tube called a styloid. The chiggers then feed on the destroyed tissue through this stylostome. If you don't bother, chiggers can feed themselves for a couple of days.

Higgers have a fragile feeding structure. This means that it is easier for them to penetrate the skin of the person where there are wrinkles, folds or where it is the thinnest.

As the skin around the feeding area hardens, in most people reddish scars appear within 24 hours after the bite, after which severe itching begins.

These strokes can resemble blisters, hives, scars, and acne and usually appear in groups. Often they will grow in size over the next 7 days.

Itching can last a week or longer if left untreated.

The difference between chigger bites and mosquito bites

Since chiggers are so hard to see, you are likely to find out that you have encountered higgers due to itchy scars on the skin from their bites. Differences between chigger bites and mosquito bites:

  • Chiggers will also get under clothing to get to areas where the skin is thin, so the bites are likely to be on the ankles, waist, backs of the knees, armpits and crotch. Mosquitoes will increase on any exposed surface of the skin.
  • Chigger bites leave small red acne as bumps right in the center of the bites. Mosquito bites are one color without pimple bumps.
  • Chigger bites are usually painless when they occur, but itching will begin in a few hours. Mosquito bites usually tend to start itching soon after a person bites.
  • Chigger bites are not known to transmit the disease, but mosquito bites can transmit malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and other encephalitis viruses.

Where the huts live

Chiggers are most often found in tall or dense grasses and weeds, berry spots and forest edges, however they can be plentiful in one part of the area and absent in the other (which means that if you pick berries with a friend, one of you may suffer from chigger bites, and the other is left without a bite). They are especially common in areas that remain moist throughout the day. Chiggers are most active at lower temperatures in the summer of the 70s to the low 80s, becoming inactive below 60F and above 99F.

Like mosquitoes, chiggers will also use open skin, with a rash indicating that they are more likely to be bitten by Higgers than mosquitoes. As explained in the National Institute of Health's Medline Plus publication, “Skin rashes may appear on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun. He can stop when underwear meets his legs. This is often the key to rash due to predatory bites. "

If you bit a chigger

If you intend to be in an area where there are probably Higgers - or even perhaps you can protect yourself by following steps 1 through 4.

If you get bitten, follow steps 4 through 6 .:

  1. Protect your skin by wearing tightly woven clothing that covers as much of your body as possible with minimal openings.
  2. Apply insect repellents to clothing before entering potential areas of the predator.
  3. When you feel or see chiggers on your skin, remove them immediately. The longer the chiger delivers, the greater the intensity of the itching.
  4. Bathing soon after exposure - you bit or not.
  5. Do not scratch. This increases the likelihood of infection and keeps the bite open, preventing it from healing.
  6. Help relieve itching and pain by following Medline's recommendations for using antihistamines and creams or creams of corticosteroids.

The importance of preventive measures

The disease is easier to prevent than to treat later. Therefore, it is important to everyone to know a few rules on how to avoid being bitten by bees, wasps and hornets. They will help minimize unpleasant encounters with stinging insects.

  1. Leaving for a walk in the woods, in the country or in the park, do not use perfume. Active insects, from afar “smelling” strong aromas, will show you special attention.
  2. Brightness in clothes attracts stinging insects no less than persistent aromas. The flowers painted on fabric will become an excellent occasion for their acquaintance with you. Among the safest options that do not attract the attention of wasps, bees and hornets will be clothes of neutral calm tones, white or beige.
  3. Choose a place to rest, located away from bins, trash cans and any food debris. These places are the favorite habitat of winged insects.
  4. Do not enjoy sweets and fruits, drink sodas on the street. Products with a specific and strong odor will also attract insects.
  5. Walking barefoot is dangerous: hornets and wasps often make nests in the ground. A human foot stepping on their territory runs the risk of being bitten. Remember that bees, collecting pollen from low-growing flowers or resting in dense grass, can also aggressively perceive your intervention in their “personal” space,
  6. Clothing free cover will be a "haven" for insects, if they manage to climb into its folds or under it.
  7. If you notice an insect swirling above you, do not wave your arms until it ceases to feel threatened by you.
  8. If insects are caught indoors, help them free by opening windows and doors. Feeling trapped, insects will show strong aggression.

If the bite could not be avoided, do not panic. Many connoisseurs talk about the usefulness of small doses of bee venom. The main thing is to exclude the likelihood of developing an allergy, which can result in a formidable complication - anaphylactic shock.

Specific symptoms

After a bee sting and other winged aggressors, the same symptoms occur, although the composition of the poison of these insects is different. The degree of manifestation of symptoms depends on 3 factors:

  • The number of bites (dosage of poison)
  • Bite location
  • The personal level of sensitivity to insect venom.

1 or 2 bites will not pathologically affect the state of human health. They will cause only a local reaction:

  • Burning pain
  • Bite spots become swollen and blush,
  • A seal appears that rises above the skin.

Manifestations of general symptoms depending on the localization of the bite site are presented in the table.

Swelling and redness of the tissues will pass after 2-5 days. In case of damage to the face, neck or eyes - after 8-9 days.

If the bites were numerous, a strong intoxication will begin in the body, which will manifest itself with such signs:

If the bite is made by a bee, the patient’s poor condition will be supplemented by the following symptoms:

  • A sharp decrease in pressure indicators,
  • Cramps
  • Laboratory diagnosis will reveal the destruction of a large number of red blood cells,
  • Possible paralysis.

After a wasp sting, the consequences will not become serious if assistance is provided to the victim on time. A fatal outcome occurs only due to heart failure or suffocation. Bee stings will bring death due to respiratory failure.

Among the most formidable complications after insect bites is an allergy, which manifests itself as a reaction of the immune system to the penetration of poisons into the blood.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction and signs of intoxication are almost identical. However, allergies can occur after one bite.

Allergic consequences after a bite of a hornet, wasp or bee occur in different forms. Their manifestations are presented in the table.

Anaphylactic shock manifests itself in one of the forms of organ damage:

  • Skin - urticaria accompanied by bleeding,
  • Heart and blood vessels - the activity of the heart and blood vessels is disturbed, angina pectoris and heart attack develop,
  • Lungs - bronchospasm and pneumonia develop,
  • Brain - swelling of the brain occurs, resulting in convulsions and coma,
  • Liver - damage to the functioning of the body.

A lethal outcome provokes a cardiovascular and respiratory form.

Dangerous effects

The consequences of a wasp, bee or hornet bite are different. Consider their differences.

Manifestations of intoxication depend on the body's ability to withstand incoming poison. Therefore, sometimes in addition to first aid for a bee, wasp or hornet sting, medical assistance may be urgently needed. Call an ambulance immediately for these symptoms:

  • The massive insect attack ended in multiple bites,
  • The poison is in the eyes, mouth and neck,
  • The victim knows that he is allergic to insect bites,
  • There are spasmodic contractions in the muscles of the throat or chest,
  • Shortness of breath or shortness of breath develops,
  • Nausea accompanied by vomiting
  • Spots began to appear on the body,
  • Severe swelling appeared
  • Pain and swelling does not pass more than 3 days.

Consider how to provide first aid for a bee, wasp and hornet bite.

First aid for a bee sting begins with sting removal.

Not everyone knows why a bee dies after being bitten. The fact is that these insects bite only when they feel danger. And stinging, they try to fly away as soon as possible. A sharp "tearing" of the bee from the skin leads to the fact that it leaves a sting there along with the insides. Therefore, the insect can die.

At home, the sting is removed with tweezers. If it is missing, use your nails. Previously, “extrusion” was used as a sting extraction method. However, doctors strongly recommend not using it: there is a high risk of the spread of poison throughout the body.

Antiseptic bite treatment - protection against secondary infection. Therefore, do not neglect the rules of disinfection. For it, special means or alcohol-containing solutions are used.

After disinfection, they begin to eliminate puffiness. Consider how to remove swelling after a bee sting:

  • Apply ice or cold foods from the freezer,

If swelling is caused by an allergic reaction, an anti-allergic drug should be taken.

But what if you are in a country house where there are no medicines? You just need to find the plants you need:

  • Parsley leaves
  • Plantain leaves and juice,
  • Yarrow
  • Onion,
  • Peppermint
  • Melissa.

They are crushed and applied in the form of a compress. The use of such drugs is indicated only in the absence of allergies.

In addition, it should be remembered that a bee sting can not only bring harm, but also benefit. Bee venom in a metered amount has healing properties:

  • Improves body tone,
  • Increases hemoglobin,
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood viscosity
  • Improves urine excretion,
  • Improves sleep quality and appetite.

Hornets and wasps

First aid for a wasp sting is provided according to the same principle as in the case of bees. However, with a bite of a hornet and a wasp, the sting does not remain in the subcutaneous layer of a person. Therefore, there is no reason to waste precious time searching for him.

The first thing to do with a bumblebee and hornet bite is to quickly eliminate the poison. It must be sucked off for at least one minute, after preliminary treating the wound with an antiseptic.

Then, first aid for a wasp and hornet bite is in the following sequence:

  • Attach ice
  • Put sugar on the wound, covering it with a damp towel (sugar helps stretch the poison already under the skin),
  • Через 10 минут замените сахар влажным компрессом, намоченным в лимонной или уксусной кислоте.

Не стоит недооценивать опасность яда жалящих насекомых: их последствия бывают крайне опасны для человека. При малейших подозрениях на развитие аллергической реакции немедленно обращайтесь за квалифицированной медицинской помощью.