These tiny bugs are almost impossible to spot, but their itchy red bites are hard to miss. Most often found in the South, chiggers hide in tall grass, forests, rotten logs, and swamps. Chiggers are not actually bugs, they are the larva of a type of mite.
Legend has it that chiggers burrow under the skin and drink our blood. Not true. Actually, they attach themselves to the skin, usually around the waist, ankles, or wrists, where the skin is loose. Then they inject a digestive fluid that dissolves skin cells, which they eat. A chigger will stay attached to the skin until it is full, then drop off, leaving a red, itchy bump.
If your child is bitten:
- Give her a hot bath to remove any remaining chiggers, then apply an antiseptic to her welts to prevent infection.
- A local anesthetic or over-the-counter anti-itch cream can help soothe itching.
To protect your child against chigger bites, apply an insect repellant that specifically targets these tiny insects.