What are Chigger Bites?
Chigger Bites are raised red welts on skin caused when these tiny pests bite and inject a fluid in the body. They symptoms usually appear after four to eight hours but normally, the wound heals within two weeks.
The bugs causing Chigger Bites are actually larvae of chigger mites, belonging to a family of mites called Trombiculidae. They are mostly found in tropical and subtropical climates in Africa and America, particularly North America.
As this is a fairly common problem, especially in areas near moist and grassy areas, there exist numerous home remedies for Chigger Bites natural treatment.
Although these irritating bugs stay attached to the skin for days, they can be removed quite easily simply by brushing them off. Hence, mildly scrubbing the body while bathing or taking a shower is the most common way to get rid of the larvae.
Causes and Symptoms of Chigger Bites
Basically, Chigger Bites are caused when the larvae of chigger mites attach to the skin of the host and inject a digestive enzyme into the skin.
The reaction to the enzymes present in their saliva is what causes the symptoms of Chigger Bites. It breaks down the skin cell and the larvae feed on these destroyed tissues. Adult chigger mites, however feed on soil and vegetation. They are also called harvest mites or scrub mites.
Forests, gardens, parks and other damp and grassy areas near lakes and streams are the most common areas where you are likely to find red-colored chiggers and their larvae. They flourish more during the early autumn and late summer season.
Areas most vulnerable to Chigger Bites are area around the ankles, underarms, waist, behind the knees, groin areas and other areas characterized by skin folds. The bitten areas on the skin develop hard, red welts or rashes.
Chigger Bites are characterized by severe itching, particularly after a couple of days and result in persistent scratching thereby interfering with process of healing and increasing the chances of developing secondary bacterial infection. Though rare, still, some people may develop allergic reactions as well.
Natural Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
• Lightly scrubbing the skin with cooked oatmeal is one of the best home remedies for Chigger Bites relief because it not only helps reduce the symptoms but also removes Chigger larvae from the skin.
• Applying a mixture of dilute tea tree oil and olive oil on the affected area is a valuable natural cure for Chigger Bites.
• Applying a prepared from baking soda and water is one of the simplest Chigger Bites home remedies to cure the itching and irritation. Ice packs are also beneficial in relieving itching and inflammation.
• Soaking in bathwater mixed with cornstarch helps ease Chigger Bites itching and hence avoids further trouble. Epsom salt bath is also useful.
• Aloe vera gel, peppermint oil, baby oil and a combination of vinegar and water also serve as excellent natural remedies for Chigger Bites treatment at home.
• Rubbing pure castor oil on the affected area is one of the most effective natural home remedies for Chigger Bites relief. Similarly, crushing and rubbing a moistened aspirin tablet on the bite helps reduce the pain.
• Having herbal teas like chamomile tea or green tea are useful in providing a soothing effect. Tea bags can be applied on the affected area.
• Inspect the clothes and skin for chigger larvae and take a warm shower right after returning from a bushy area likely to have these bugs in order to avoid Chigger Bites.
• You can prepare an insect repellent by mixing about 25-30 drops each of peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, two tablespoons of jojoba oil and some witch hazel in a spray bottle. This home remedy can be used on skin and clothes to prevent Chigger Bites.
Diet for Chigger Bites
There is no particular diet for dealing with Chigger Bites. Therefore, it is advisable to have a normal balanced and healthy diet, preferably with more vitamin C and vitamin E rich foods and follow the above mentioned natural home remedies for Chigger Bites, wear loose clothes and resist the temptation to scratch persistently.
In addition, it would be better to take adequate preventive measures like using insect repellents, wearing long and properly fitted clothes, socks etc before going to damp and grassy areas where these insects could be present to prevent Chigger Bites.