Chiggers or red bugs are insects or small organisms invisible to the naked eye, but present in wooded and infested areas (with grass and vegetation). These organisms can, when they come across a human body, attach themselves to it. It has been scientifically proved that it is possible for chiggers to remain on human skin for a number of hours before actually biting it.
Chiggers usually infect areas with thin skin. Areas on the human body most affected by or prone to chigger bites are:
- Groin region
- Knee (the back portion)
Read on to find out some of the best, easiest, and most effective home remedies for getting rid of chigger bites.
What causes chigger bites?
Chiggers reside in damp and woody areas. These red bugs have six legs and contain enzyme which gets inside the skin after a chigger bites the skin. Chiggers thrive in these conditions:
- Warm outside temperature: Chiggers do not bite in regions with cold temperatures or even regions with extremely hot temperatures.
- Moist regions: Chiggers can be found lurking in grassy regions in almost every part of the world.
- Unclean and dirty environments: Chiggers breed in unclean places.
- Lack of sunlight: Chiggers breed in regions which receive less sunlight.
- Excess of weeds and vegetation: Chiggers are usually found in places with tall grass.
- Presence of other animals: Chiggers are more likely to infect and bite snakes, birds and animals such as turtles than humans. Damp, grassy regions with lots of insects and birds around make for a perfect home for chigger infestation.
You know you have been a victim to chigger bite when you experience some of these symptoms related to your skin and body parts —
- Pronounced and prolonged itching
- Red bumps
- Swelling Hives
- Pain and itching during urination
- Itching on skin which becomes intense after a couple of days
- Rashes on your pet’s skin after they have been bitten
Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Chiggers
Given below is a list of home remedies that will help you treat and get rid of chigger bites in a fast and natural way:
1. Apply Ice: One of the most natural and fast acting home remedies for getting rid of chigger bites is ice. Simply put an ice back on the bitten region and let it rest for a while. The swelling will automatically go down. Never apply ice directly on the bitten area; wrap the ice in a piece of cloth and then use it.
2. Calamine Lotion: Rich in zinc oxide, this lotion helps to get rid of chigger bites quickly and is known to effectively take the sting out of the bite.
3. VaporRub: The large amount of menthol present in VaporRub helps reduce the inflammation in chigger bites and prevents swelling. Follow the given steps for maximum benefits
- Add salt to VaporRub
- Apply on the bitten area and let it rest for a few hours
- Repeat for maximum benefits
4. Hair drier: If and when your skin releases heat, the itching from chigger bite will go down. Apply blow drier from a height to the infected part of your skin.
5. Baking Soda: It has a cooling effect and reduces the pH of the skin owing to the high alkaline content. Follow the given steps for best effects:
- Add some baking soda to a teaspoon of clean water
- Mix vigorously to make a paste
- Apply to the bitten area for 15 minutes
- Repeat as necessary
6. Listerine Mouth Wash: Considered one of the best home remedies for getting rid of chigger bite, mouth wash contains anti-itch as well as some anti-fungal elements. For best effects, follow the steps given below —
- Wash the bitten area
- Dry it and let it rest for a few seconds
- Soak a cotton ball in some mouth wash
- Apply to the bitten skin
- The cooling effect will reduce the itching and swelling immediately
A mixture of vanilla extract, Listerine, and orange oil is also considered helpful to reduce the effects of chigger bites.
7. Tea Bags: If you are concerned about scars or marks that might be left behind due to the chigger bite, tea can be the answer to your problem. Tea contains tannic acid which acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Refrigerate a tea bag after dipping it in
- Apply to the bitten region for a few minutes
- Repeat as necessary
8. Aspirin: Owing to its anti-inflammatory characteristics, a moderate and control intake of aspirin will help you reduce the swelling and itching considerably.
9. Oatmeal: Considered an allergic reaction neutralizer.
- Make some home-cooked oatmeal and let it cool down for a while
- Rub on the infected region. Repeat till the effects of the bit wear off.
10. Epsom Salt: This is considered one of the best home remedies for getting rid of chigger and bug bites.
- Take a teaspoon of salt.
- Mix with some water.
- Let it rest on the bitten part of the skin.
11. Alcohol: Takes the sting out of the bite and acts as an antiseptic. Follow the given steps and experience the itching and swelling go down immediately —
- Rub some alcohol on the infected area
- Repeat and apply a fresh coat in every two hours
12. Peppermint: Relieves pain and helps get good blood circulation in the body. Massage the bitten area with some peppermint oil for fast effects.
13. Vinegar: Instant application of vinegar will act as a natural and anti-bacterial remedy for chigger bites.
14. Aloe Vera: Extracting fresh aloe vera juice and applying it directly on the bitten part of the skin will provide a cooling effect and instantly reduce any pain that you might experience due to chigger bites. Aloe vera is considered one of the best home remedies for getting rid of chigger bites.
15. Tea Tree Oil: Follow these steps to get rid of chigger bites using tea tree oil –
Add water to some tea tree oil and dilute it
Rinse the bitten part of the skin
Repeat till the itching goes away
16. Turmeric: Will provide a soothing effect. Considered by many as an effective home remedy for getting rid of chigger bites. Sprinkle some turmeric powder on your skin and on your bed sheets to prevent the possibility of chiggers breeding in your bed. Please note that it is essential to let turmeric dry for a while before you decide to rinse it off.
17. Powdered sulfur: Sulfur repels chiggers. Put some powdered sulfur on your skin, clothes and in your house and yard (bed sheets and the grass in your yard) to keep chiggers away.
18. Capsaicin cream: Helps reduce itching and burning sensations. Apply some cream on a cotton ball and spread and massage over the bitten area for 5 minutes to see immediate effects.
19. Pepper: Rubbing some home-made pepper will help reduce the effects of a chigger bite. Red pepper acts as a painkiller and is thus used by many as a home remedy for getting rid of chigger bites. Be careful not to apply too much pepper directly to the infected region and keep some ice packs around as and when you follow this approach for treating your skin for chigger bites.
20. Lime: Follow the given steps and get a perfect home remedy for getting rid of chigger bites:
Cut one fresh lemon in two equal pieces
- Apply one of the cut pieces on the bitten area
- Let the juice of the lime stay for a few minutes until it has dried off on the skin
- Take a mild soap and some warm water and rinse gently
- Repeat 3 times in one day for maximum benefits
21. Clean Your Yard: Since the primary region for chiggers to breed is in tall grass, the best home remedy for getting rid of chiggers is to keep your surroundings clean and make sure that the environment in and around you and your house is not suitable for them to breed in. One highly recommended way to do this is to lay down some cardboards or papers around the regions with vegetation so that you can easily ‘hotspots’. This will help in the following way —
- After you have laid down paper, check (after 2-3 hours) to see if some chiggers or bugs have managed to creep up on top of it
- Since chiggers are extremely small organisms usually invisible to the naked eye, you will need a magnifying glass once you go out to inspect the papers or cardboards you laid down on the vegetation
- Once you start to inspect, you will see small orange or pink dots under the magnifying glass indicating the presence of chiggers
- Circle the ‘hotspots’ and treat the area immediately to get rid of chiggers
Prevention is better than cure. Follow the given steps to prevent chigger bites and avoid them from spreading to other parts of your skin:
- Maintain cleanliness: Wash your body parts or take a bath with clean warm water after any outdoor activity.
- Wash your clothes: Hot water kills any chiggers that might have stuck to your clothes when you were outside.
- Temperature control: Check the temperature and make sure to not travel in dirty areas with humid air and damp regions.
- Dress to prevent: Wear clothes that completely cover your body parts so that chiggers are not able to climb up your skin and bite. Wear long pants and socks which are thick to prevent chiggers.
- Repellents: If you are going on an outdoorsy trip, be sure to apply mosquito and insect repellents on your skin to prevent insect and chigger bites.
- Check your pets/birds: Inspect your pets closely in case they have outdoors for long. Chiggers are more likely to infect other animals and birds instead of humans.
- Wear light fabrics: This makes it possible to spot any ticks and chiggers that might be present on your clothing.
- Seek medical attention immediately: If you feel that the bite is severe and is causing much pain, do not delay medication and go to the doctor immediately to prevent further damage to your skin.
- Eliminate habitats in your surrounding: If there are chiggers present in your yard, hose and wash them away using water. Use a steam cleaner on your furniture and bed inside the house (without letting steam stay in one place for long) to prevent chiggers from breeding inside your home.
- Use mild soap and avoid scratching: If you have been bitten by chiggers, avoid scratching the infected areas of your skin as this will only make the situation worse.