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Author Topic: Chiggers
Elizabeth
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My daughter has itchy, stinging legs, and some non poispn ivy "event" seems to be spreading.

Could it be chiggers? We were just in the mountains in West Virginia.

If so, what should I look for to see if it is chiggers? Anything I can do to help her? She is a scratch-and-picker, and I am afraid her legs will be shredded by the morning.

Any advice is great!

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mr_porteiro_head
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Chigger bites look like insect bites.

I understand that if you put clear nail polish on the chigger bite, the chigger will suffocate, but I'm not sure it's not a rural legend.

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Noemon
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Chiggers also tend to congregate and bite in areas where clothing fits snugly against the body. They love the elastic areas of socks and underwear, for example. Can you see discernable bites, or is this more of a rash?
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The Pixiest
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A bath with baking soda is supposed to soothe the itching.. but that may be a wive's tale. We don't have chiggers in CA so it's been a long time since I had to deal with them.

(but they were MURDER!)

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ketchupqueen
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If it's spreading, it may be a rash or allergic reaction. Have you tried Benadryl?
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Noemon
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Yeah, The Pixiest has the right of it. Chigger bites are the most excruciatingly itchy and unplesant bug bites that I've ever experienced. And you never just get one--they enjoy eating in the company of their peers, it would seem.
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dkw
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The clear nail polish thing works. I was skeptical, so I only used it on one leg. At first. The difference was so dramatic that I did the second leg the next morning.

And it's good for scratch-and-pickers too -- she can peel off the nail polish and then re-aply it. Keeps you from scratching and picking the actual skin.

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Elizabeth
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Hmm, I wonder if that would work for regular bug bites, Dana? She gets so scarred! And I get mad at her, and then she gets really upset, and then I feel terrible because I know she can't help it, and and and.

She is at a friend's now so I can't look, but we could not see any bites. I will look her over again when she gets home. I wonder if she had a reaction to something in the grass. She was sitting in the grass at different times. Or maybe the pond water?

Thanks!

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mr_porteiro_head
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The worst part about chiggers is that their favorite location is the crotch.

I once counted over 200 chigger bites on 1 leg after sleeping out in the woods with no tent and no insect repellent.

That was not pleasant.

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mackillian
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Call the doc and ask?
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Elizabeth
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Yes, Mack, that is always an option! I was going to take her this morning, then it seemed better.
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mackillian
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I figured you of all people would've thought of it by now. [Wink] I just like stating the obvious.
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ElJay
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There can be all sorts of nasties in pond water that can cause a rash. Blech. You always need to shower off right away if you play in ponds or lakes.
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mackillian
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Mmm. I recall duck itch from my childhood.
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Theaca
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duck itch?
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Enigmatic
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A doctor diagnosed me of having duck itch once, but I'm fairly sure he was a quack.

--Enigmatic

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Belle
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I was just going to add my own endorsement of the nail polish treatment. It does work.

Sorry she's dealing with that chiggers are most unpleasant. We went to a family reunion held at a mountainside resort in North GA one year and I came home covered in them. The nail polish is indeed a life saver.

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ambyr
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The NYT ran an article debunking the nail polish treatment a few weeks ago. I'm not sure whether or not I believe them, but I'm testing it: I'm leaving my chigger bites uncovered, my hiking companion is painting his.

So far, it's nail polish 0, the NYT 0, and chiggers 100+ -- no sign of change on either of us.

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mackillian
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duck itch and about the lake I grew up on, no less. [Smile]
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sarcasticmuppet
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Finger nail polish works really well if you haven't scratched too much and broken the skin. Otherwise it stings really really bad.
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Storm Saxon
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You know,Chiggers would be an awesome horror movie. [Smile]
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Jess N
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Both the nail polish and the baking soda bath work very well. I got into some chiggers one summer picking blackberries out in an old field in North Georgia when I was a kid. It was horrible and because I had an allergy to any sort of bug bite, I also ran a fever. My mom put me in a cool baking soda bath and that took some of the edge off the itch.

Another thing that works really well with chiggers (and other bug bites) is camphorated oil or (brand-name) Camphophenique. You can buy both over the counter at the drug store. It smell strong and if the skin is broken, it will sting a bit. Once you get past that though, it will soothe and stop the itching that motivates your daughter to scratch. Hope this helps

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Elizabeth
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Thanks everyone.

I am thinking it is more of a weird pond-related rash now than chiggers. i think I assumed chiggers because i am a norther n gal, and once over the mason Dixon line, I assume all manner of bugs will be out to get me.

When she returns tomorrow I will post an update. If my camera had not been STOLEN, I could even post a picture.

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Sartorius
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The nail polish is a myth. It does stop you from scratching, but there's no chigger left once the itching has started so there's no sense trying to suffocate it.

As I understand it, the chiggers' intended host are reptiles and birds. They bore small holes in their skin and take the small ammount of blood they need. Mammals, though, produce a hard cell wall lining that blocks them, and they leave. It's the cell wall that itches. If you scratch at a chigger bite enough that it stops itching it means you've dug deep enough to remove the cells with the lining, but you've also exposed yourself to infections.

The recommended action is to try and not itch it until it's gone away. A paste made of asprin pills ground in water works, and bathing with an oatmeal scrub will help dry it out. Anything that touches the bites will cause them to flare up and BURN LIKE CRAZY so it helps if you wear shorts and no socks (chigger bites usually happen on the lower legs).

Hope that helps!

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plaid
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Chiggers usually go after ankles and shins first.

Best way of avoiding = if you're going through the woods, stay on the trails; and don't walk through tall grass that hasn't been mowed in a few months.

People's reactions to bites tends to vary -- some folks itch REAL bad; lucky folks like me, not so much. (On the other hand, I tend to get big reactions to mosquito bites and tick bites.)

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PUNJABEE
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It could be scabies.
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dkw
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The nail polish thing is not a myth. (Or if it is, it's a true one.) The explanation for why it works may be wrong, but it does work.
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Seatarsprayan
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I'm shocked at the political incorrectness in this thread.

They're called chegroes.

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ketchupqueen
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Swimmer's itch information.
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Elizabeth
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Well, now they look like little bites. They have stopped flaring up, so I guess we will never know if they were chiggers or not, but she seems OK.

Sartorius, I also read that chiggers use some sort of liquid to dissolve the lfesh before eating it, and that is what the itch is about, Like yu said, it is the cell wall making a protective barrier or something. So at least it is a myth that they burrow under your skin.

Still, Southerners, you can keep your beautiful, green, mountainous South, with its great food, sandy beaches, amazing music, and fine literature.

There are just too many g.d. BUGS!!!!!!!!!!!

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