Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

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It’s amazing that something so small can cause such great discomfort, but chigger bites are a menace, especially to people living in the southern part of the United States. Lurking in berry patches, tall grass, woodland hideaways, and weedy thatches – chiggers lay and wait for your ankles and other body parts to arrive. If you want instant relief for chigger bites, consider home remedies as a possible solution.


What is a Chigger?

A chigger is a harvest (or larval) mite that enjoys feasting on the blood out of its victims [1]. Measuring about 1/20 inch long, the chigger is a bright red, hairy critter that has the ability to travel pretty fast. Instead of burrowing in the skin like other mites, chiggers insert their mouthparts into a skin pore or hair follicle [2]. Small, reddish welts oftentimes appear on the skin accompanied by intense itching and irritation. Some victims liken a chigger bite to an acute case of poison ivy or poison sumac.

Chiggers usually target the waist, ankles, or warm folds of skin on humans. If you live close to woody areas, orchards, or berry patches – chances are greater of suffering chigger bites. They also prey on campers, picnickers, hikers, bird watchers, and fishermen. The worst time of the year for chigger bites is early in the summertime, when grass, weeds and other vegetation have started to spread out in growth.

Symptoms of a Chigger Bite

The primary symptoms of a chigger bite include [3]:

  • Severe itching
  • Redness
  • Pimple-like bumps (called papules)
  • Hives
  • Skin rash during sun exposure

Chigger Bite Home Remedies

If you plan on hiking in the woods or picking blackberries in a nearby meadow, keep in mind that what you can’t see will hurt you. Chiggers are so small that it takes a microscope to detect an infestation. Thank goodness for home remedies that can ease the discomfort of an unfortunate encounter with chigger bites, including:

a) Neosporin:

Rub Neosporin ointment or any other antibacterial ointment hidden in your bathroom cabinet on chigger bites to speed up the healing process and prevent infection.

b) Ace Bandage:

To reduce the itching of chigger bites, wrap an Ace bandage over affected areas to cut off the air supply that contributes to itchy skin.

c) Aspirin:

Moisten an aspirin tablet and gently rub over chigger bites to ease pain and lessen the itch.

d) Nail Polish:

When chigger welts appear, dab on a bit of nail polish to keep children (and adults) from scratching at their bites.

e) Elmer’s Glue:

While dabbing nail polish on chigger bites has worked wonders for some victims trying to beat itchy skin, others have turned to an easier-to-remove method – applying Elmer’s Glue to bites.

f) Hair Dryer:

Treat itchy skin by holding a handheld hair blow dryer (on a high setting) a couple of inches away from a bite for a few seconds. Once the heated sensation fades away, hopefully so will your itch.

g) Baking Soda:

Thoroughly clean your chigger bites with soap and water, followed up with an application of baking soda and water paste.

h) Listerine:

Clean infected chigger bites with hot water and soap. Soon after, dab on Listerine mouthwash, which contains hasbenzoic acid and an alcohol/water solution much similar to the chigger bite products found on the market (like Chiggerex).

i) Baby Oil:

While in the shower, gently scrub or use a dry brush on the skin to massage the skin. Follow up with a coat of baby oil after patting dry the skin.

j) Choice of Clothing:

The kind of clothing you choose to wear when enjoying the outdoors can prevent additional chigger bites during the healing process. Since dark colors (especially navy blue and black) are said to attract chiggers, wear light colored clothing. If you’re planning on braving overgrown patches of grass, don’t forget to lace up a tall pair of boots.

k) Castor Oil:

After taking a shower, rub pure castor oil on your chigger bites.

l) Vicks Vapor Rub:

Put an end to itchy chigger bites by rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on affected areas, which contains methanol – an ingredient known to relieve itching.


[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=chigger
[2] http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2100.html
[3] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001333.htm