Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

If you're considering using home remedies for chigger bites, please read this educational piece on what chiggers are, how they bite, and what exactly you are trying to treat before you hurt yourself with a well-intentioned but painful home treatment. Most home remedies listed on the internet are based on the idea that chiggers are bugs that have burrowed under your skin. These remedies aim to smother, kill, or expose these supposed bugs. Many of these home remedies - such as suggesting you coat yourself with flea dip, lice killer, bleach, kerosene, bleach water or nail polish - will damage your skin terribly and will make your situation worse in the long run, especially if you develop a secondary infection as a result.

Chiggers 101
Chiggers are the tiny larvae of chigger mites. When the chiggers are babies, they feast on animals and humans; when they are grown chigger mites, they only eat from the soil and vegetation. Chiggers attach themselves to your skin, then use an enzyme in their saliva to break down your skin cells such that they can suck the cells up. They enzyme causes your skin cells to dissolve, then harden on all sides of the dissolved skin cells, forming a straw for the chigger larvae through which the larvae sucks up cells. Chiggers eat for a while, then move rapidly from one part of your skin to the next. Contrary to folklore, chiggers do not burrow under your skin, and they are in fact easily removed with a quick brush of your skin. They are too big to fit inside your pores and they do not actually go under your skin.

Chigger bites look like raised, hard red bumps. They are usually found in clusters around the ankles, backs of your knees, inner thighs and groin and underarms. They do not itch at first, but when they do start itching, the itch is fierce and can continue for day or even weeks.

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
Home remedies for chigger bites that do work are the following:

  • Hot, soapy bath
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Applying ice
  • Topical analgesics
  • Oral pain killers
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