Chigger Bites Treatment

What can I use on a toddler for chigger bites?

Chiggers are the larvae of the Trombiculidae family of mites which are parasitic organisms. They are red in color and are found in vegetated regions such as forests, parks, lakes and fields. Chiggers are believed to make burrows into the skin and remain there. However, in actuality, the female chiggers bite into the skin and penetrate it by inserting their feeding structures and mouth inside. Then they inject certain enzymes which cause destruction of the skin tissue. The area where the bite has occurred becomes hard and a stylostome or a feeding tube forms. The flea may feed on the victim for some days if it is not disturbed. Chigger bites commonly occur in areas of the body where there are skin folds, wrinkles and layers. Hence areas such as the groin, armpits and ankles are most prone to chigger bites.

The symptoms of a chigger bite are not experienced when the bite occurs and the feeding tube is inserted into the skin. Once the parasite begins to feed through the tube and injects the enzymes into the skin, certain signs and symptoms become apparent. Chigger bite symptoms include itching, redness and hives. The itching may intensify in the first couple of days and may persist for about two weeks. The affected area may also develop bumps or welts. In case treatment is not administered, the chigger will continue to feed for a long period of time and the feeding tube may be inserted deeper into the skin.

Chigger bite treatment requires medical attention in case a secondary infection develops in the affected area. Signs of a bacterial infection include warmth, redness, pain and formation of pus. There are also some natural chigger bite remedies which are known to be helpful in chigger bite itch relief. After a bite has occurred, as an immediate chigger bite treatment, it is advisable to take a warm bath and cleanse the skin with soap to remove the chiggers. You could then continue with the chigger bite treatment using baking soda and warm water. Mix the two together to form a thick paste. This paste may be applied to the affected area to ease pain, itching and irritation. Baby oil or castor oil is also a good chigger bite treatment option and may also be applied to the area of the chigger bite for itch relief. Application of menthol or alcohol is also believed to help in treating a chigger bite as it suffocates the parasite and alleviates itching. To prevent chigger bites, it is advisable to wear sleeved shirts and long pants when venturing into vegetation areas.

answered by G M

Chiggers are microscopic creatures that tend to appear quite commonly in the southern parts of the US in late spring, summer, and early fall. They also exist in many other parts of the world, usually appearing during the same seasons. Chiggers are basically larvae of mites that are known as harvest mites, which are closely related to ticks. The larvae are very common outdoors in areas with tall grass or dense shrubbery, and only they bite - adult harvest mites are harmless, and feed only on plants.

Unlike most insect and mites that bite, chiggers do not feed on blood, as is sometimes wrongly thought - instead they feed on human skin. However, in practical terms this does not make much difference to us, as the bites can be just as irritating and uncomfortable as any others. The fact that they do not suck blood also does not mean that they cannot transmit disease - in some parts of Asia and Australia, chiggers are known to carry and transmit scrub typhus, which causes skin rashes and fever. In the US and most other parts of the world however, the only problem posed by chigger bites is the irritation and swelling, which is temporary.

This of course doesn't mean that chigger bites can just be ignored - they can certainly be quite uncomfortable and even traumatic, especially for a toddler. The first thing you should do if you have received chigger bites is bathe - chiggers usually do not stay attached to the skin for very long, but this is sometimes a possibility, and a bath will ensure that this doesn't happen. Apart from this, the only thing to do for chigger bites is apply a cream or ointment to control the itching. You can use whatever you normally use for insect bites - calamine lotion, hydrocortisone, or benzyl benzoate. Do not apply nail polish on the bites - this is unlikely to make things worse, but it will certainly not do any good. The idea behind applying nail polish is supposedly to suffocate the mites that have burrowed into the skin, but chiggers in fact do not burrow into the skin. As mentioned before, they usually do not stay on your skin, and even if they do, a bath is all that is needed to get rid of them.

You should make it a habit for your toddler to bathe after coming home from areas where chiggers may be present - as mentioned, the larvae are microscopic and therefore unnoticeable, and the reaction to the bites sets in considerably later.

answered by G R

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