Chiggers are a type of mite hailing from the family, ‘Trombiculidae’). The mites are arachnids, like ticks or spiders, and can be found in most parts of the world. Chiggers inhabit usually in green fields, woods, parks, gardens, as well as near water bodies like rivers and lakes.. These are difficult to observe with the naked eye because they are too small, just 1/150th of an inch long. Chiggers are red and can be seen only when they form clusters on a person’s skin. An adult chigger has eight legs, while the children have just six.
Chigger bites: what do they look like?
Chiggers do not just nibble into the skin of the person; they just put their mouthparts into the skin pore of a person or the hair follicle. They do not suck a person’s blood; they just pierce the skin of the person and inject a salivary secretion that has strong digestive enzymes. The enzymes can then beak down skin cells, which are ingested by the larvae. Even the tissues become liquid, which the larvae ingest. The digestive fluid also leads the surrounding tissues to solidify and form a straw-like tubular flesh called a, ‘stylostome,’ which the larvae uses to suck further digested skin cells through. The chigger bite picture as you can see in the form a red swelling with a white center on the skin area that itches badly and can also lead to dermatitis. Swelling, inflammation and itching can continue up to a week or more If you scratch the bite, the skin can break leading to a secondary infection.
The bites are in the form of little, red colored welts on the skin of the person that may be accompanied by intense, itching that is similar to the bite of the poison ivy. Apart from humans, chiggers can bite animals like smaller mammals, birds, snakes and turtles.
Female chiggers are known to become active in spring, and can lay more than 15 eggs everyday in vegetation when the temperature of the soil is 60 degrees and more. The eggs hatch to form six legged larvae, which is enough to bite human beings. Once they have hatched, chigger larvae scale onto plants and seek a host to bite. Once they have fed, the larvae take leave off their host and become 8 legged nymphs that are capable of biting humans and other animal beings. Chiggers also eat the eggs of isopods, springtails, and mosquitoes. The areas in the human body, which chiggers tend to bite mostly, are ankles, groin, armpit area, behind the knee and even the crotch. The person becomes to experience symptoms within one to 3 hours of the bite.
Symptoms of chiggers bite
1. The region of the bite can become red, elevated and flat as well
2. The itch is mostly strong within one or two days of the bite
3. The itching can last for many days
Treatment for Chigger Bites
Chigger bite can be treated by alleviating the itching and inflammation that the person is suffering from. The best way to treat chigger bits is by administering corticosteroid creams and calamine that can prevent the itching. Oral antihistamines like diphenhydramine can also be useful.
Prevent Chigger Bites
You should take a shower after every outdoor activity and thoroughly clean the vulnerable places like the underarms and groin area so that there cannot be chances of chiggers to stick to your body. Also wash and change your clothes regularly. Chiggers do not inhabit in colder temperatures that measure below 60 Fahrenheit and temperature more than 99 degree Fahrenheit. So, if you are in such places, there are not many chances of being bitten by chiggers.
Wear appropriate long clothes during outdoor activity to prevent a chigger bite. For instance, if you are going in grassy fields, it is better to weak ankle high boots and long pants. You can also apply certain lotions that can prevent mites from traveling to your body.
Chigger bite pictures
Here are chigger bite pictures that show you how the bite can cause problems to the skin