Chigger Bites – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Chigger Bites Symptoms and Treatment: Chiggers or red bugs are small members of the Arachnid family which are mostly present in moist grassy or wooded areas. The adult Chiggers do not bite humans but the young and larvae of the Chiggers can bite humans and it can lead to severe discomfort to humans.

Chiggers can get attached to the exposed part of the body of the person and lead to the onset of the symptoms. You may not even notice the Chiggers attached to your body as they are extremely small and hard to notice. Chigger bites will occur in clusters of a lot of small and inflamed bites. These bites are extremely itchy and can lead to blisters and pen open wounds due to extreme itching in the patient.

Chiggers are most active in the seasons of Spring, Summer and autumn usually in the afternoons when the temperature is warm. Chiggers are found in every country and can bite anyone. These are usually treated with soothing medications so that you do not itch the site of the bite.

Chigger Bites

Chigger bites can occur in any person in any age group. Chigger bites often occur in clusters of small red bites. The Chiggers attach themselves to the exposed parts of the body and secrete their saliva into the body of the person. This saliva breaks down skin cells for which the body responds by hardening the cells around the bite area.

This creates a kind of tube through which the Chigger sucks the fluids from the body of the host. This leads to the onset of an inflammatory reaction in the body of the person which gives the bites a reddish appearance. The Chiggers can stay attached to your body for several days and they feed off on your body’s fluids. Usually they fall off on their own within 4 to 6 days. The bites can be extremely itchy which forces the person to go to a doctor.

The bites can be treated with topical ointments for the itching and they go away in 2 to 3 weeks without leaving any marks or scars on the body of the patient. The article below will provide you with all the details regarding Chigger Bites, Symptoms of bites, causes, diagnostic tests for the bites, treatment and preventive methods of the Chigger Bites.

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Causes and Risk Factors of Chigger Bites

Chigger Bites occur when Chiggers attach to your body and start feeding on the body fluids of your body. There are many factors which can increase your risk of getting bitten. These factors are given below.

  1. Living in humid and hot areas.
  2. Walking through a field of overgrown grass and forest.
  3. Camping in deep forests located in hot and warm areas.
  4. Visiting an area covered in forest or dense grass.
  5. Not wearing proper clothing and covering while walking through dense grass
  6. Visiting areas near water bodies without proper clothings and coverings.
Chigger Bites - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Symptoms of Chigger Bites

There are many symptoms associated with Chigger Bites and these occur after the Chiggers have fallen off. You may notice the following symptoms.

  1. Reddish spots and bumps in a cluster around the areas which were exposed such as your ankles, knees, waist and armpits.
  2. Itchiness around the area which is affected.
  3. Sometimes the area which is affected can be painful 
  4. Blisters may also form in the area due to severe itching.
  5. Chiggers may be visible when looked through a magnifying glass.
  6. Chigger bites on the genitals can lead to severe itching, swelling and painful urination.
  7. Chigger Bites can sometimes lead to swelling in the affected areas.
  8. The size of the bumps can increase over time and lead to more blisters and itchiness.

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Diagnosis of Chigger Bites

Usually there is no test required for the diagnosis of the condition as the marks of the bites are enough to arrive at the conclusion. The diagnosis of Chigger Bites will be made based on the following tests. 

  1. Medical History- Your doctor will first ask about your medical history and your recent travel history. If you have recently visited a place where Chigger Bites are common then it will make it easier for your physician to provide you with a diagnosis.
  2. Visual Examination- Chigger Bites are distinctive in nature. They occur in groups or clusters and are usually present in the areas of skin folds or where there is tight clothing. The bites appear as red bumps or spots on the surface of your skin and are extremely itchy.
  3. Tape Stripping- In this test, your doctor will use a tape to remove the remaining Chiggers from your skin and observe them under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
  4. Blood Tests- This is rarely conducted and is only used as a procedure to rule out other conditions. This test will look for the saliva of Chiggers in your bloodstream and other factors which may have caused the red spots on your skin.

Treatment of Chigger Bites

 Chigger Bites can be treated by using various treatment methods. Most of these methods focus on treating the itchiness of the bites so that they do not get infected. The following treatment methods are most commonly used for the treatment of Chigger Bites.

  1. Antiseptics- Antiseptics may be applied to the red bumps so that they do not become infected due to excessive itching.
  2. Hydrocortisone Creams- Hydrocortisone creams or Calamine lotion may be prescribed to you for the treatment of the itchiness of the bites. This will prevent you from scratching these bites and causing an infection in them.
  3. Ice Therapy- You may also apply an ice pack or a cold compress to soothe the affected area. This will also reduce the inflammation in these bites thus decreasing the swelling.
  4. Antihistamines- Your doctor may also prescribe you Antihistamines so that your body’s inflammatory response may be eased. This will reduce the redness of the bite marks.
  5. Cleaning the affected area- Washing the affected area with soap and water will kill any remaining Chiggers and they will fall down. This will prevent further damage to the affected areas.

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Prevention of Chigger Bites

Chigger Bites can be prevented by following various preventive measures which are given below.

  1. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants- Always wear long sleeves and long pants when going to a new place which has forests or dense grass.
  2. Use tick or insect repellant- Use an insect repellant on your clothes especially around the neck, cuffs and waistband so that no insect gets in these parts.
  3. Wash your clothes in hot water- Always wash your clothes in hot water when you come home from a long trip as hot water will kill off any insects or bacteria which may have travelled in your clothes.
  4. Take a bath regularly- Take hot showers every time you come home from a new place so that there are no insects or bacteria on your body which may infect you.
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FAQs Related to Chigger Bites

What are Chigger Bites?

Chigger Bites occur when the larvae of Chiggers attach to human bodies and bite them to take nutrition from their body. These leave bite marks which are red in appearance and are extremely itchy.

How long do Chigger Bites last?

Chigger Bites can last for about 2 to 4 weeks in a person. They resolve on their own and generally the medications are only provided to reduce the itchiness of the bites.

What can happen if Chigger Bites are not treated?

Chigger Bites do not spread from one person to another however if you do not start treating it then scratching the bite can break off the skin and lead infection in the person.

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