Children who spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer and spring season are likely to end up with chigger bites. If you have not experienced one before, it is characterized as an annoying reddened itchy bumps.
Chiggers or harvest mites are small in size and could not be seen without using a magnifying glass or microscope. They are a type of parasitic mite and one will not feel a bite which is why many are not aware of chiggers until the urge to scratch starts and rash develops 12-24 hours later.
Once on the body, chiggers usually move around in search for a place to feed particularly areas with thin layers of skin. They also start to feed if a barrier is reached such as the waistband of the clothes or the armpit.
Even though chiggers remain attached on the skin for several days and continue to feed, they are readily brushed off when the individual starts to scratch the rash or takes a bath or shower. This is why it is vital to take a quick bath or shower after spending time outdoors.
Management of chigger bites
Anything that can alleviate the itchiness from chigger bites includes the following:
- Take a shower or bath as soon as possible after possible exposure to chiggers.
- Antihistamines such as oral diphenhydramine or Benadryl
- Apply a suitable over-the-counter medication for itchiness such as hydrocortisone, oatmeal baths or calamine lotion
- A prescription-strength steroid cream
Even though chiggers do not usually carry any diseases, the chigger bites are at risk for infection. In some cases, chiggers are capable of causing scrub typhus in areas with tropical climates.
Since staying outdoors and being active could not be avoided by many, it can be difficult to avoid chigger bites. With this in mind, it is vital to learn other measures to avoid chiggers to prevent chigger bites. This include instructing the child to avoid habits that puts them at risk for bites such as using sandals without socks, shorts and sleeveless shirts.
It is recommended to use long pants that are made out of tightly woven fabric, high-top boots or shoes and long-sleeved shirts. In addition, it also helps to tuck in the pant legs into the boots or shoes.
Insect repellants can be used to avoid chigger bites. Aside from applying the repellant on the exposed skin, it is also recommended to dab on the wrists, ankles, neck and the waist which are areas that chiggers gain access to the rest of the body via the shirt, shoes, shoes and pants.