4 Chiggers Myths Parents Need To Know
Doc Smitty with tips on protecting your kids
Want an excuse not to go out in the brutal Texas heat?
So what does this mean for your kids?
The truth is mainly annoyance. Let’s take a look at what you should know about chiggers and dispel some of the myths you may have heard about these pesky little arachnids.
1. Chiggers burrow into your skin and need to be suffocated.
Chiggers attach very lightly to skin when they bite. They use piercing mouthparts to inject digestive enzymes into their host. This allows them to feed off the host’s skin cells. It’s the reaction to these enzymes that causes the itching and irritation.
2. Use nail polish to get rid of them.
Light brushing or a shower easily remove the chiggers, there’s no need to apply nail polish or another cream to suffocate the chiggers. Once your child has been bitten, treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms and can include oral antihistamines or calamine lotion.
3. Chiggers can transmit diseases like mosquitos and ticks.
Chiggers only barely pierce the skin and do not ingest or transmit blood-borne illnesses. They are super annoying but do not carry the risk of transmitting infections like mosquitoes and ticks. The most common infection after a chigger bite would be a local infection caused by itching.
4. Chiggers can cause multiple bites and can spread from person to person.
Once a chigger bites and detaches, it quickly dies. They can’t spread from person to person or even bite you multiple times along the way. When multiple kids get chigger bites, it’s likely because they were playing in the same area. Clusters of chigger bites usually occur around the waistband and sock line because that is the environment that they love-but the bites are caused by multiple chiggers.
NBC5 talked to Mike Merchant, with AgriLife Center in Dallas, who said we are seeing so many chiggers this year because of the warm weather and high humidity in June. Merchant gave these tips for protecting yourself and your family from chiggers:
- Use a good repellent, applying it to your shoes, socks and pants legs before stepping into a potential chigger area.
- Tuck your pant legs into your socks to make it harder for chiggers to get in your pants and find the tender places.
- Scrub yourself well in the shower after you think you might have been exposed. Chiggers typically take several hours to settle down and begin feeding. If you can shower before they begin chowing down, you can reduce the number and severity of bites.
- You can also treat your front yard with insecticides spray like bifenthrin. Make sure you mow your lawn before spraying.
Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.
Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.