Chiggers (Bites) (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What are chiggers?
- What do chiggers look like?
- How do chiggers bite humans?
- What are the symptoms of chigger bites?
- What is the treatment for chigger bites?
- What are the complications of chigger bites?
- How can chigger bites be prevented?
- Chiggers At A Glance
What are complications of chigger bites?
Chigger bites themselves do not produce any long-term complications. However, because of the intense itching, prolonged scratching may lead to skin wounds that may become infected by bacteria.
How can chigger bites be prevented?
Washing with soap and water after outdoor activity may remove any chiggers that may be migrating on the skin and prevent their bites. Likewise, washing clothing that was worn outdoors will kill any chiggers remaining on the clothing.
Attention to the outdoor temperature can help with prevention of chigger bites. Chiggers do not bite at colder temperatures (below 60 F or 15.5 C). Chiggers also are not found in areas hotter than 99 F or 37.2 C, so hot rocky areas on sunny days can provide chigger-free seats.
As with mosquito bites, proper outdoor clothing can help prevent chigger bites. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts as well as thick socks and high shoes or boots can help prevent infestation. Pants legs should be tucked into shoes or boots if possible.
All mosquito repellents (such as DEET), applied to skin and clothing, are effective at repelling chiggers.
Chiggers At A Glance
- Chiggers are the larval (juvenile) form of a type of mite (Trombiculidae).
- Chiggers do not burrow into and remain inside the skin, contrary to popular
- Chiggers inject digestive enzymes into the skin and feed upon the
- Pronounced itching is the main symptom of chigger bites.
- Bites may appear as blisters or as flat or raised red areas.
- Treatment involves supportive measures to control itching.
Missouri Department of Conservation Web site, "Chiggers", http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/arthopo/chiggers/, accessed 6/9/09.
Last Editorial Review: 6/10/2009
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