Chigger bites come from the the larvae of harvest mites that belong to the family Trombiculidae. They feed on low vegetation, but they need animals as a main source of protein.
Chiggers do not burrow into the skin as ticks do when they attack the body; instead they attach themselves to the opening of a hair shaft and inject saliva into the skin. When on a person, chiggers go to areas where the skin is thin and moist: the ankles, wrists, thighs, groin or waist.
The mite stays in this area until feeding is complete. This time span can be anywhere from one to four days. After feeding, the larvae drop back to the ground to complete their development. In some people, the initial bite can trigger an allergic response and a rash may appear on surrounding areas of skin.
How do you get chigger bites?
If you walk through a wooded or grassy area, it is possible to be attacked by chiggers. People get chiggers simply by the mites jumping onto the skin. That’s why it’s important to cover yourself up in areas that are known to have chiggers, ticks or any other mite that can attack the body. If you can avoid walking through low brush or woody areas altogether, that’s even better.
Apply an insect repellent containing the substance dimethyl phthalate to areas of the body that are not covered by clothing. Also apply the repellent to areas where clothing overlaps such as the ankles.
A tick repellent named Duranon is an effective method for keeping chiggers off of you. It should only be applied to your clothing. Avoid contact with your skin.
Chigger treatment options
Some people have found that dog shampoo helps to dry up the lesions. The doctor can prescribe ointments for you to apply to the irritated skin. These ointments can dry up and heal the lesions that are present, but will not prevent new lesions from occurring.
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