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How To Treat Chigger Bites

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Chiggers are tiny mites that, as members of the arachnid family, are a cousin of spiders and ticks.[1] Chiggers attach themselves to humans who walk through infested vegetation, exploring their human hosts for 3 to 6 hours before biting them. Most chigger bites occur in thin-skinned areas of the body like the ankles, waist, groin, armpits and backs of knees. This article will teach you first aid for chigger bites as well as home remedies to help relieve itching while the bites heal.

1. First Aid for Chigger Bites

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Take a hot shower the moment that you realize you have a chigger bite. Scrub your body with soap to remove any additional chiggers from your skin. A shower will also help to minimize skin reactions from the bites.

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Use an antihistamine or topical hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itching. Alternatively, apply an icepack or a cold compress to the area to stop the itching.

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Avoid scratching. Trim your fingernails closely if you’re struggling to stop scratching the bite. If you do break the skin, then apply an antiseptic ointment to prevent  infection

2. A Time Proven Home Remedy 

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Here’s a simple solution, that’s been used for more than a century. Take a partial jar of Vicks Vaporub, add a couple of tablespoons of regular table salt to it.

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Stir it up and then apply a small amount to each bite. The purpose of the Vicks is to hold the salt granules in place, and the menthol alleviates the itching

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Make sure to have three or four salt granules right on top of the bite. Put it on when you go to bed, and when you wake up the swelling is down, it no longer itches and the chigger is dead and gone. If you have any residual inflammation, apply it again the second night. That 1/4 full or less jar of Vicks that you added salt to? It’ll last you 10 to 20 years.

3. Unverified Home Remedies to Help Alleviate Itching

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Apply clear nail polish or Elmer’s glue to the bites. Doing this will help to alleviate scratching. This remedy is based on the myth that chiggers burrow into the skin, and thus sealing over the bites will cause them to suffocate. However this is incorrect—chiggers do not actually stay under the skin, and are easily dislodged. Coating the affected area with nail polish or glue may help prevent too much scratching, but will do little to stop itching.[3]

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Grind up some aspirin into a powder. Apply the powder to the chigger bite.

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Make a paste of baking soda and water. After showering, apply the paste to your bites.

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Put a topical ingredient on the bite. You can dab Listerine on the bite, apply castor oil or spread on some Vick’s Vap-o-Rub or Rawleigh’s Medicated Ointment. The Camphor, Menthol & Eucalyptus oils in both will help stop itching and aid in quick healing of the bites.

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Hold a handheld hair dryer set to a high setting 2″ (5 cm) over your bite. Blow dry the bite for a few seconds. The itching sensation should fade away after your skin releases the heat.