The red, blister-like welt of a chigger bite is often mistaken for a mosquito bite and is just as itchy. When a chigger bites, it injects its saliva with a powerful digestive enzyme that kills the surrounding tissue causing it to harden and form a tube-like structure called a stylostome. It is through this stylostome that the chigger begins to feed on the liquefied tissue of the host.
Treating the Bite Site
The first line of defense is to ensure that the chigger is no longer feeding. This can be difficult since chiggers are not visible to the naked eye. A thorough scrubbing with warm, soapy water is usually all that is necessary to detach the chigger.
Once you have removed the chigger, refrain from scratching the welt. Scratching is the primary cause of infection from chigger bites. To ease the itching use topical lotions such as Calamine or corticosteroid creams. Antihistamines may also be helpful for itch relief.
Homemade Itch Relief
Though not specifically touted as chigger relief treatments, many folk remedies have been used for years to relief itching and may provide some relief including toothpaste, an oatmeal bath, and apple cider vinegar.
Chiggers.” Medicinenet.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. www.medicinenet.com/chiggers_bites/article.htm.
“Hey! A Chigger Bit Me! .” KidsHealth – the Web’s most visited site about children’s health. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/bugs/chigger.html.