Get rid of that pesky itch and arm yourself with a few home remedies for chigger bites. Your skin will thank you for ridding it of the pain and misery associated with this stealthy nuisance.
An Introduction to the Chigger
Anyone who's spent an afternoon outside in a heavily grassy or weedy area will likely be familiar with the intense itchiness and redness associated with a chigger bite. Chiggers are extremely small insects which feed on human skin by slyly attaching themselves to the body. Due to the fact that these little pests are practically invisible, human beings typically cannot actually see them. The only evidence of their presence is the resulting bites that occur after the chigger has fed on the skin.
An Attraction to Skin
We all want to achieve beautiful skin, but perhaps not so beautiful that it attracts these little critters. Chiggers, however, don't discriminate: They will commit themselves enthusiastically to any hair follicle or skin pore that is suitable for their mission to feed. Once the chigger finds a spot, it will attach its mouth to the area and secrete a fluid that essentially disintegrates human skin cells. These skin cells are used as food for the chigger, and they are extracted by a "tube" formed by the secretion and the cells together. The chigger then proceeds to extract the food before leaving the host (your skin).
Avoiding the Chigger
Just as people do their best to avoid sunburns and poison ivy, so too should they make an effort to protect themselves from chiggers. Of course, the insect's ability to stealthily attach itself to the human body is a bit of a problem, but there are certain products available that are formulated to repel the chigger and prevent infestation. One such product is Chigg-Away, a lotion designed to repel the critter and relieve the itching, redness and discomfort associated with non-poisonous insects. The product should be applied to the ankles, waist and feet, as well as to any skin in areas covered by tight clothing.
In addition to investing in repellents, individuals should keep the following tips in mind:
- In the United States, chigger season typically lasts from early spring to summer's end. Therefore, it is especially important to avoid lying or sitting on the ground during this period.
- Chiggers are attracted to dark colors, such as navy blue and black. Avoiding these colors during chigger season will keep you at least partially protected - and cool!
- After returning indoors from an outdoor excursion, take a shower immediately, regardless of whether or not you were in a risky (heavily grassy) area.
- Always launder infested clothing at least twice prior to wearing them again.
- Reapply your repellent after swimming or jogging (or participating in any activity that causes excessive perspiration).
Easy Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
Even if you follow every bit of advice to the letter, you may still end up with chigger bites. Fortunately, there are a number of easy remedies that promise to ease your discomfort and soothe your skin. If you are uncomfortable, consider some of these home remedies for chigger bites. Many have been passed down for ages as tried-and-true solutions, while others are newfangled and unique. You may experience some trial and error as you figure out which method works best for you.
- Keep the bitten areas thoroughly clean with plenty of water and soap. Follow with a paste made of baking soda and water. Elevate the affected areas (if possible) to reduce swelling.
- Apply a coat of clear nail polish to the bites. This is said to relieve the itch almost immediately.
- After showering, rub pure castor oil onto the bites.
- Moisten a tablet of aspirin and rub it gently over the bites. This is said to relieve the pain and the itch.
- Use a gentle scrub (or a dry brush) in the shower, dry the skin thoroughly and follow with a coat of baby oil.