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Chigger

What will help get rid of the chiggers once they bite you?

A chigger is the larval form of a mite also called a red bug.  It is a common misconception to think chiggers dig into the skin and stay attached.  The saliva of the chigger sucking on the fluid of our skin is what causes the irritation but often it does not show up for hours after the bite. Chiggers attached to humans are usually dislodged or die within hours. Chiggers are easily removed from the skin by taking a hot bath or shower and lathering with soap several times.

Since symptoms of contact may not appear for several hours, it is not always possible to completely prevent welts caused by chigger bites. Antiseptic should be applied once the redness appears and some relief can occur by using over the counter topical creams available in any pharmacy. Studies have shown meat tenderizer, rubbed into the welt, will alleviate itching too.

There are parts of the world where the chigger can transmit scrub typhus but here in Florida, the chigger is not known to cause any disease. However, it is important to monitor any of the wounds and if an infection seems to be developing contact your physician immediately. If you know you will be hiking in an area where chiggers might be present consider using products containing DEET. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig085