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Old July 22nd, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Paul / Boultbee
1994 D-90, Green #1576
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Los Altos Hills California USA
Posts: 787
Facts About Chiggers
Chiggers, which are also called harvest mites or red bugs, are very small and can not usually be seen without a magnifying glass or microscope. Their 'bite' also isn't usually noticeable, which is why you usually don't even know you were around chiggers until you start itching and notice the rash about 12 or 24 hours later.
Once on your body, they typically move around looking for a good place to feed, which is usually a thin layer of skin. They will also begin to feed if they reach a barrier, such as the waistband of your clothes or your armpit.
But chiggers don't even really bite you in the traditional sense, like a mosquito does. Instead, they attach themselves to your skin, inject saliva with digestive enzymes that helps to break down your skin cells, which the chigger drinks. It is these enzymes that cause the itchy rash.
Although chiggers can stay attached to your skin for several days and continue eating, they are very easily brushed off and are usually knocked off once you begin to scratch the rash or take a shower or bath. That is why it can be a good idea to have your kids take a quick shower or bath after they have been playing outside in any type of 'wild' areas of your neighborhood. Another good reason is just so you can wash off any insect repellent that you had put on.

Myths About Chiggers
One of the biggest myths or misconceptions about chiggers is that they can burrow under your skin and drink your blood. This leads to the common treatment for chiggers of putting clear nail polish on chigger bites to suffocate the chiggers. Since chiggers don't actually burrow under your skin, this 'treatment' is unnecessary.

Treatments for Chigger Bites
While nail polish isn't a good treatment for chigger bites, anything that can help control the itching can be helpful, including:
take a bath or shower as soon as possible after any possible exposure to chiggers
apply your favorite OTC anti-itch medication, such as hydrocortisone, Calamine lotion, Sarna, oatmeal baths, etc.
oral Benadryl
a prescription strength steroid cream
any placebo effect such as wood ash, pickle juice and liquid sugar
Although chiggers in North America don't usually carry any diseases, the bites themselves can get infected.
I'm contemplating thinking about thinking about it!
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 08:20 PM
Rugbier's Avatar
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110 Tdi - 110 N/A - D3 HSE - RRS SC
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Peoples Republic of Marylandistan
Posts: 5,884
if you don't mind the stink, a vinegar bath does its job, then some aloe cream to release the pain/itch.

If you scratch , it gets a lot worse before it gets better.

( a friend got it in NC when he came home he was covered, and he is a Doctor and did that )
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 09:04 AM
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Rod Hayward
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Rod Hayward
95 D90 Green #2288
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: larkspur, co
Posts: 871

Well, no new bites in the last couple days. I never found anything topical that was terribly effective with the itchyness. No taint bites thank goodness, but ol' Mr. Happy wasn't feeling very happy for a few days. I think my biggest problem was not washing my clothes right away. I believe by the time I realized I had a problem they were everywhere. In the house, in the vehicle. I was getting another 20 or so bites every day. Even washing the bedding every day and spraying everything down with flea and tick killer didn't have much effect that I could notice.

I did read that mites like chiggers don't like sulfur, and that its used to treat the ground to get rid of chiggers in a badly infested area. I also read that scabes mites (supposedly worse than chiggers) have been successfully treated with a salve made from sulfur. I went down to the local chemistry supply store and bought 500 g of sulfur for about 12 bucks. I brought it home and mixed it with petrolatum at a rate of 10% sulfur 90% petrolatum. It looked like whipped honey butter. I put a fine slathering of that on and don't believe I've had a new bite in the last two days. I can't swear that it works, but I think I'll put some on next time I go to that area again just as a preventative. I kind of like the gunpowdery smell, too!

Thanks to everyone for their information and suggestions.
8-track, gun rack, spittoon, gimbal mounted beer buoy, blah, blah, blah, blah......
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 01:15 PM
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Mike Hansen
97 D-90 SW #2243
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Highlands Ranch,CO,USA
Posts: 586
Thanks Rod for the great start to my day. I laughed my ass off. Connie thought she would have to give me CPR when I stopped breathing when my diaphram locked up from laughing so HARD.

You will only find this as humorous as I if you have actually had a bad case, although mine cannot hold a candle to yours. Lived in Memphis for 3 summers 100% deet worked the best for me for prevention.


Glad you are feeling better

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
--Benjamin Franklin
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Craig Dickson
1995 D90 Red Soft top
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Weaverville, NC
Posts: 469
Chiggers are real bad in SOuthern Illinois Where I used to spend a lot of time as a kid. I don't recoomend this to anyone but we woud spend a week visiting my Grandmother in the summer and she would give us a teaspoon of sulfer to eat when we first got to her house. THat seemed to work great on keeping the Chiggers away.
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