Chigger Bites Treatment Guide

On a beautiful, warm, early summer day, you decide to hit the park with the kids, or perhaps enjoy a golf game with some friends.    The weather is fantastic, why not?

Unfortunately, even beautiful warm sunny days can come with a price.   You notice on the way home, your legs are a little itchy, as well as your stomach.   You come home and undress to get a nice warm shower.   As you look in the mirror, you notice hundreds of small red marks on your stomach, groin, and legs ... and they are itching like crazy!

While out enjoying the day, you ran into some Chiggers (also commonly called Red Bugs), and they decided to turn you into their afternoon feast!

While not fun, our Chigger Bites Treatment tips will help you learn how to calm the itching from Chigger Bites and Red Bug Bites, how to prevent Chigger Bites from spreading, and how to prevent Chigger Bites in the future!

What is a Chigger Anyway?

A Chigger actually isn’t an insect at all, but a tiny mite (about 1/60th of an inch), that lives in grassy/woodland areas.  They are related to spiders and ticks and are also called: harvest mites, harvest bugs, harvest lice, mower’s mites, or red bugs.

Adult Chigger Mite

Chiggers jump onto you, then begin to feed on your skin.   They don’t actually bite, but instead make a hole in your skin, and inject their saliva, which contains an enzyme that begins to digest your skin.   Then they begin to feed.

The enzyme they use to digest your skin, along with the damage from the hole that is made, cause red, pimple-like welts, and they cause some of the most intense itching you can experience.

Unfortunately, they tend to attack in large groups, causing numerous “bite” marks, that can often look more like a rash.

Chigger Bites

While highly prevalent in the southeastern United States, you can find them pretty much anywhere in the world.  There are different varieties, with some being more problematic than others, but regardless, Chiggers can make your life miserable for a week or so.

What to do, if you think you’ve been exposed to Chiggers

If you actually see Chiggers on you or think that maybe you’ve been exposed, you’ll want to do a full body inspection:

  1. Remove all of your clothing, including undergarments.   Place your clothing immediately into the wash.  The soap and water will kill any Chiggers on your clothing.
  2. Look all over your body, for very small red dots that are often moving around.  Pay particular attention to your feet, legs, groin, genital area, and stomach.   These are the most common areas where Chiggers will feed.  If you see Chiggers, you’ll know you have them.
  3. Even if you aren’t sure, jump into a cold shower, and wash vigorously with soap and be sure to wash your hair.  Focus on cleaning the lower portions of your body, where Chiggers are most common.  Be very thorough, as Chiggers like to get into more difficult to reach, and uncomfortable areas of your body.  White a cold shower isn’t fun, it will help reduce the reaction from the Chigger bites, lessening your discomfort.

Now that your clothing and body are Chigger free, you’ll want to treat any areas where you think you may have been bitten or areas where you can already see red marks forming.

Early treatment is critical to avoiding the very painful and uncomfortable marks Chiggers leave behind.   This “rash” can often be so uncomfortable, that you will have difficulty sleeping.

Chigger Bites Treatment

The best treatment for Chigger Bites is an over the counter anti-itch cream or anti-itch ointment.  Effective Products include:

Our recommended product for treating Chigger Bites is:

Cool showers and baths, and cold compresses also provide relief.

Chigger Anti-itch Cream

Remember, the sooner you treat the bites, the less severe your reaction will be.  The itching is caused by your body’s reaction to the enzyme the Chigger places in your skin through its saliva.  The sooner you reduce that reaction, the less you will itch.

If the intense itching, isn’t getting better within 5 days, you’ll want to seek medical assistance from a doctor.  Be aware though, that more intense itching on the 2nd and 3rd days is not uncommon.

Avoid Scratching!   Scratching Chigger Bites can result in infection, which can get very serious.   If you develop a fever or see white puss coming out of the bite marks, seek medical attention immediately.

Attention Men! If you were bitten on or around your Penis, watch closely for swelling.  If you experience any difficulty urinating, you may have “summer penile syndrome”.  You’ll want to seek medical attention from a doctor immediately, as this condition can be very serious.

How Long do Chigger Bites Last?

Symptoms of Chigger Bites generally appear within a few hours of being bitten.  The bites themselves though, may not easily visible for up to 12-24 hours.   Once visible, they are usually accompanied by intense itching, that is generally at its peak within 3 days of being bitten.

Chigger bites generally last for about a week, with the most intense itching subsiding after the third day.

If treated early, Chigger Bites can be substantially less severe, and will not last as long.  This is why we emphasize early treatment so much.

How to Prevent Chiggers Bites and Chiggers

Once you’ve been attacked and bitten by Chiggers, you’ll definitely be highly motivated to avoid getting attacked again.   But how do you prevent Chigger Bites?

The most effective way to prevent Chigger Bites, if you’re going to be outdoors, is to use an insect repellent that contains DEET.  We recommend:

If you prefer a product without DEET, this is highly effective, and also great for repelling Chiggers too:

Here are some tips to make the Chigger repellent more effective:

  • Apply repellent liberally
  • Focus on areas where Chiggers can transition from clothing to skin, such as the top of socks, bottoms of pants or shorts, your waistline, edges of undergarments, and neckline.
  • The lower portion of your body, from the waist down, is the most susceptible unless you are actually down in the grass.
  • If you know you’ll be in a potentially Chigger infested area, where long sleeves and long pants to help avoid Chigger bites.

Now that you’ve protected yourself with clothing, and an insect repellent, you can now venture into the outdoors, feeling confident that you’ve significantly lowered the chances of getting attacked and bitten by Chiggers!