Chigger bites: treatment and prevention

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Watch out

Chigger bites can become scaly and itch for several days after the first appearance of the bite. To avoid repeated bites, you need to get rid of chiggers. Then you can focus on relieving the itchiness of the bites.

Wash them

When you first notice a bite, the mites are likely still on your skin while you enjoy your food. You can get rid of them simply by rinsing them: lather the area with warm soapy water, rinse, and then lather at least one more time to make sure you remove them all.

If you don't have access to warm, soapy water, wipe the area with a clean cloth or towel. It doesn't take long to get rid of chigger feeding.

Treatment of bites

Over-the-counter lotions, such as calamine with or without benadryl (diphenhydramine), can be used to relieve the itchiness of chigger bites. Some chigger products are also on the market. You may also find that taking allergy medicine or placing an ice pack on the bites can help relieve the itchiness.

Most of the time, however, you just have to wait. It may take 10-14 days for the itching to go away.

An antibiotic ointment can be applied to the bites to prevent infection.

When to contact a healthcare provider

If you notice signs of infection or if the bites do not improve, call your doctor. In case of a severe infection or signs of an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, rash that spreads), seek emergency medical attention.

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