Remedy for Chiggers???

  1. These strange bugs in the south are killing me, y'all! All summer long I smell like Deep Woods Off to keep the mosquitos, and West Nile Virus, away, and the fire ants seem to be attracted to the stuff because they always find me.

    Now, yesterday (sunday) I was walking through the woods helping my neighbor look for her lost dog (not the same dog that bit my son a while back!), and today I woke up with an itchy ankle. I assumed I found poison ivy during my walk, but it got progressively worse during the day. My husband, a native of the south, said it is chigger bites. Apparently they are little bugs that get under your skin (eeewww!) and cause an itchy rash. The itch is intense, and my ankle is swollen! He said to put nail polish over the bites because it will kill the chiggers. Has anyone ever heard this before? I am debating whether or not I should go to the doctor tomorrow, since this is driving me crazy, and I can't sleep with this pain and itching. But I hate to pay for an appt just to have him say to get some OTC hydrocortisone or something, or worse, laugh at me for having nail polish covering my ankle and any other possible chigger bite that I saw on my leg.

    Anyone have any other remedies? If nothing else, maybe I will pass out from the nail polish fumes and finally get some rest.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   whipping girl in 07
    I had chiggers so bad about a year and a half ago the dr thought it was scabies. Chiggers don't get under your skin, they are just so small you can't see them. To prevent them, you have to take a really hot bath/shower and scrub good after you've been hiking/working in the yard, etc. They hang out in bushy, overgrown places and love tight quarters (waistband, bra-band, ankle (when wearing socks). When I got them I'd been walking around our overgrown land in Arkansas in sandals and very loose clothing (just lost weight and hadn't bought new clothes) so they didn't just hang up in tight places, 'cause there wasn't any. And of course, being away from places that have chiggers for so long, I forgot to take a bath when I got to the in-laws. So they went everywhere. I spent the weekend slathering caladryl on and taking benedryl (and therefore sleeping). Truly miserable. I don't think going to the dr would really help you. Good news is that it's pretty short lived. I was covered Saturday AM (after getting them Friday afternoon) but by Tuesday they were mostly gone (just in time to go back to school...it was Easter weekend).
  4. by   Mattigan
    My granny would wash the chigger area in diluted bleach water.
    I personally like Burt's Bees Res Q ointment with comfrey.
  5. by   CATHYW
    Your husband is absolutely right about the nail polish. When I was growing up in FL, we called them "redbugs," because they are a teeny tiny bug that is reddish orange.

    For severe infestations, my Daddy used to dab a kerosene-soaked rag over the areas. You are lucky that it is just your ankle. The like creases and folds, usually, esp. the genital area, for some reason!

    Watch out for deer ticks, too. Better have hubby check you over from your scalp to your neck and ears, and back-any place that you can't easily see. They can be the size of tiny dots when they attach, but get bigger as they feed. :-(
  6. by   JonRN
    I put some household ammonia on a cotton ball and hold it on the chiggers for about a minute or two. They give up the ghost quickly.
  7. by   CountrifiedRN
    Thanks for all the info everyone! I woke up this morning with my ankle glued to the bed sheets from the nail polish, I guess I put it on too thick.

    I've also noticed more bites going up my leg and around my knees, yikes! I am hoping they are a delayed reaction, and not new ones. I wore the same shoes yesterday before I knew what the bites were, and my husband said (a little too late) that I should wash them in hot water.

    I went to the pharamcy this morning to find something for relief, and the pharmacist recommended topical lice treatment, like Nix. He said to put it on the skin and let it sit for 25-30 minutes, then take a hot shower. Then hydrocortisone and topical benedryl for the itching and swelling. It's still killing me though!

    I looked them up on the internet, and found more information than I ever wanted to know about chiggers. Here's the web site if anyone is interested:

    http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2100.html

    This is some of the info on the bites:

    "Chiggers do not burrow into the skin, but insert their mouthparts in a skin pore or hair follicle. Their bites produce small, reddish welts on the skin accompanied by intense itching as irritating as acute cases of poison ivory or poison sumac.

    Bites
    Chigger larvae do not burrow into the skin, nor suck blood. They pierce the skin and inject into the host a salivary secretion containing powerful, digestive enzymes that break down skin cells that are ingested (tissues become liquefied and sucked up). Also, this digestive fluid causes surrounding tissues to harden, forming a straw-like feeding tube of hardened flesh (stylostome) from which further, partially-digested skin cells may be sucked out. After a larva is fully fed in four days, it drops from the host, leaving a red welt with a white, hard central area on the skin that itches severely and may later develop into dermatitis. Any welts, swelling, itching, or fever will usually develop three to six hours after exposure and may continue a week or longer. If nothing is done to relieve itching, symptoms may continue a week or more. Scratching a bite may break the skin, resulting in secondary infections. However, chiggers are not known to transmit any disease in this country.

    Skin Care
    After returning from a chigger-infested area, launder the field clothes in soapy, hot water (125F.) for about half an hour. Infested clothes should not be worn again until they are properly laundered and/or exposed to hot sunshine. Unlaundered clothes or those laundered in cool water will contain the biting chiggers to again reinfest your skin. As soon as possible, take a good hot bath or shower and soap repeatedly. The chiggers may be dislodged, but you will still have the stylostomes, causing the severe itch. Scratching deep to remove stylostomes can cause secondary infections. For temporary relief of itching, apply ointments of benzocaine, hydrocortisone, calamine lotion, New Skin, After Bite, or others recommended by your pharmacist or medical doctor. Some use Vaseline, cold cream, baby oil, or fingernail polish. (The sooner the treatment, the better the results.) "
  8. by   live4today
    Change your bedsheets, too! :kiss
  9. by   CountrifiedRN
    Thanks, Renee! I am right now in the process of washing anything and evverything I might have come into contact with over the last two days! Ugh! This WAS my day off!
    @%$#^$#&^ Chiggers!
  10. by   live4today
    ((((((((((RN2BNC))))))))))))) What a thing to be going through on your day off, eh! Hope those little chiggers are gone soon. :kiss
  11. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    ewwwww......

    Hope you're feeling better soon RN2bNC!

    Heather
  12. by   meandragonbrett
    My mom's allergic to them and she has to go get a steroid shot when she gets them. use CLEAR nail polish, I don't know if that makes a difference but that's what I've always heard.

    Brett
  13. by   Ortho_RN
    UGH!! My husband is actually fighting with them right now.. He usually takes clorox bath and medicates with Benadryl... They seem to love to get in his ummmm.. "unmentionable area"
  14. by   kids
    I end up a chigger eatten mess from toes to knees every year when we go to my inlaws in OK...my own fault...I will NOT were long pants in 95 degree weather.

    I pour beer on the bites and it stops the itch (also works on piss ant bites).

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