While chigger bites are unlikely to cause any serious threat (unless you have an allergy) they nevertheless can result in intense itching and can be highly unpleasant as a result. At the same time though if we spend a lot of time outdoors then they are a problem we are going to have to deal with often and that can be regularly frustrating. Fortunately though there are some home remedies to alleviate the discomfort and sooth the itching, here we will look at what those are.
Despite popular belief, chiggers do not burrow under the skin or bite with pincers. Rather they cause their irritation in a manner more similar to mosquito – by feeding through a ‘stylostome’ which is akin to a straw or a needle going into the skin. The itching itself however is not caused by the penetration, but rather the chigger saliva, which is has enzymes in it designed to break down cell walls. The chiggers then drink this saliva back up along with the broken down cells before leaving the stylostome in the skin. Critters…
Methods That Don’t Work
Some of the home remedies that are recommended for chigger bites are actually unlikely to work and founded on misconception. For instance it was previously believed that you could sooth chigger bites by applying nail polish onto the area as it was believed that this would smother the chigger that had burrowed under the skin. However this will not work simply because the chigger does not burrow under the skin and does not remain on the skin at all for more than a few minutes.
However that said there are some home remedies that will work and which can sooth the problem and these generally include applying certain solutions and lotions to the area. These include:
- Calamine lotion
- Petroleum jelly
- Cool water
- Mint listeria
- Hot soapy water
A cause for concern other than the irritation is that the incision can lead to infection which can occur if bacteria gets into the broken skin. To avoid this make sure to disinfect the area with a saline solution or a disinfectant. If you notice discolouration in the surrounding area then see a doctor and they can prescribe you with antibiotics to fight the infection.