Chigger bites are an uncomfortable but common summer ailment. Here’s how to know if you have them and ways to treat them at home.
Chigger bites start to itch within hours of the chigger attaching to the skin. The itch stops after a few days, and the red bumps heal over 1–2 weeks.
Chiggers (also called harvest mites or red bugs) are tiny red, biting mites. Their bites aren’t painful, but do cause intense itching.
- What do chigger bites look like? Photos to help you identify and treat them
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- Chigger Bites: Should I Worry? And How Should I Treat Them
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What do chigger bites look like? Photos to help you identify and treat them
Chiggers are found outside. They only come inside once they’re attached to you. That’s unlike bedbugs – small, flat bugs that feed on your blood while you sleep. Once a chigger bites you, it can’t bite you (or anyone else) again. Bedbugs, on the other hand, can live several months between feedings.
Chiggers on dogs and other pets
Chiggers often bite the ankles, leaving behind clusters of itchy, red bumps. Courtesy TimVickers/Wikimedia Commons. via Wikimedia Commons
Chigger bites usually get better on their own. But if yours still bother you after a few days, see your doctor. In rare cases, you may need steroid shots to calm itching and swelling. Your doctor may also ask you to take antibiotics if your bites become infected.
If your chigger bites aren’t getting any better with at-home remedies and over-the-counter treatments, it’s worth talking to a doctor, Levoska says. They can prescribe stronger medications, such as a topical steroid or antibiotic in the event of a secondary infection.
Do chiggers burrow under your skin? You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s just not true. Chiggers have weak mouth muscles. They can latch onto you but can’t go deeper than that. This myth likely started because as a chigger bite gets red and bulges, it can start to surround the chigger itself.
How to Get Rid of Chiggers: Bites, Treatment, Pictures, Symptoms, Rash
To help keep these pesky mites out of your yard, try to stay on top of mowing, weeding, and removing brush. In severe cases, some pest control treatments can help. Look for a lawn spray that contains one of these chemicals:
The itching is usually at its worst 24 to 48 hours after the bites appear, Cleveland Clinic explains. From there, the itchiness will subside and eventually stop completely after two weeks.
What do chigger bites look like?
Chigger Bites: Should I Worry? And How Should I Treat Them
If you’ve ever come back from a hike to find a collection of small, itchy red bumps around your ankles but didn’t know what they were, you probably don’t know what chigger bites look like.
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What are chiggers?
If chigger bites happen on the penis, they can cause swelling, itching, and painful peeing. This is known as “summer penile syndrome.”
A doctor can also help you determine whether what you think is a chigger bite may actually be sometimes else.