The season for insect bites is upon us. Some of the worst types of insect bites come from what are commonly known as "chiggers," which are tiny, immature mites. Their bites can cause inflammation and severe itching for days. These insects can be found in tall, moist grass and commonly brush off onto the legs and arms of people walking by.
Total Access Urgent Care is experienced in the management of the discomfort these annoying insects can cause. Dr. Carter Fenton – Medical Director of our Chesterfield location – was interviewed by Fox 2 News on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 regarding chiggers. He discussed topics such as how to avoid getting bitten and how to treat chigger bites.
View the video by clicking here.
WHAT ARE CHIGGER BITES?
During the interview, Dr. Fenton dispels certain myths related to chiggers. The first myth to be dispelled is that chiggers burrow under the skin. The other is that they must be smothered with clear nail polish or kerosene in order to get rid of them. The truth, as explained by Dr. Fenton, is that chiggers inject saliva into the skin when they bite, which injures the tissue. An inflammatory chain reaction then occurs, which causes the associated intense itching.
HOW TO AVOID CHIGGER BITES
Since chiggers like to position themselves on the ends of tall grass and other plants, there are several ways in which you can avoid being bitten. Some tips provided by Dr. Fenton include:
- Apply DEET (insect repellant)
- Wear long pants
- Wear tightly-woven socks
- Use tape around the cuffs of your pants
- Avoid walking through tall grass and other plants when possible
Chiggers are attracted to warm areas. Often, they crawl from the lower legs, near the shoes and socks to the warmer areas such as the groin or waistline. Wearing long pants and thick materials, as well as using bug spray, can significantly reduce the chance of getting bitten.
HOW TO TREAT CHIGGER BITES
By the time the swelling and itching that comes from chigger bites is noticed, the pesky bugs are usually long gone. Dr. Fenton explains that, "It's topical, but the damage has been done." He recommends using the following products to treat the swelling and itching to ease the symptoms:
- Anti-itch cream
- Steroid cream
As always, follow the instructions provided with these products, and be sure to speak with your doctor before using new medications.
VISIT TOTAL ACCESS URGENT CARE TODAY
Are you or your children suffering from chigger bites? Perhaps you have an unidentified rash or other inflammation. Total Access Urgent Care can help you differentiate the cause and develop a treatment plan. Visit one of our five locations in the St. Louis area today. Walk-ins are welcome, there is always a doctor on-duty, and each location is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for your convenience.