Easy Cure for Chigger Bites

Need an easy cure for chigger bites? It's simpler than you'd think.

Anyone who has experienced chigger bites knows how badly you want to find a solution for the intolerable itching. People have been known to do desperate things to relieve themselves from the maddening itch of chigger bites, including such popular home and natural remedies as painting the bites with nail polish, dipping the affected areas in flea dip and dousing themselves with vinegar. Before you try any of these home remedies, read up on what chiggers are, how they bite and what you can do to solve your chigger bite problem.

Chiggers 101
Chiggers are the tiny larvae of chigger mites. When the chiggers are larvae, they feast on animals and humans; when they are grown chigger mites, they only eat from soil and vegetation.

Chiggers attach themselves to your skin and then use an enzyme in their saliva to break down your skin cells so that they can suck the cells up. The enzyme causes your skin cells to dissolve, while cells surrounding those dissolved cells harden to form a straw through which the larvae sucks up cells. Chiggers eat for a while and then move rapidly from one part of your skin to the next. Contrary to folklore, chiggers do not burrow under your skin; they are easily removed with a quick brush of your skin.

Chigger Bite Prevention
You can avoid most chigger bites by simply bringing a face cloth with you when you into chigger-infested territory and wiping your ankles, calves, backs of your knees and inner thighs every once in a while with the face cloth. Mosquito repellant also repels chiggers, so it's a good idea to douse yourself with repellant before you go anywhere there might be chiggers. Take a warm, soapy bath immediately after you are exposed to chiggers and any remaining chiggers will be washed away and any fresh chigger bites will be soothed before the itching can get too bad.

Chigger Bite Treatment
Prevention is the best way to deal with chigger bites, but what if you already have them? Since chigger bites don't start to itch until about an hour after you've been bitten, it can be tough to prevent and terrible to deal with once that itching begins. 

If you've taken a warm soapy bath, you no longer have any chiggers on you, so the itching you are feeling is due to the enzyme injected into your skin, not because you have any bugs on you or in your skin. This is why the flea dip and nail polish ideas are not good ideas - if anything, you'll just irritate your skin more. Most home cures for chigger bites are based on the untrue premise that there are bugs under your skin that you must expose, smother, or kill; most of these remedies will damage your skin without providing relief.

What you need to do is sooth your itching skin while your body figures out how to deal with the enzyme the chigger injected, in some cases days to weeks. Use topical analgesics, diaper rash cream and triple antibiotic ointments to prevent a secondary infection due to scratching. This is one of those situations where scratching really will make the itching worse, so use oral pain killers in addition to topical numbing agents and resist scratching as much as possible.

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