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Chiggers (cont.)

Where do chiggers live?

People can take steps to prevent being bitten by chiggers using the following methods:

  • Wash the skin with soap and water after outdoor activity.
  • Wash clothing that has been worn outdoors with hot water.
  • Avoid vegetation that is low to the ground when outdoor temperatures are favorable to chiggers. (Chiggers do not bite at colder temperatures [below 60 F or 15.5 C] and are not found in areas hotter than 99 F or 37.2 C.)
  • Use insect repellents, such as DEET (carefully follow instructions on any insect repellent as some applied inappropriately may cause problems, especially in children).
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves during outdoor activity along with high shoes or boots. Pant legs should be tucked into boots if possible.

Chiggers Prognosis

Chigger bites resolve on their own without any long-term complications. However, scratching of affected areas can result in skin wounds that can become infected by bacteria. Travelers to areas in Asia should be made aware that endemic scrub typhus from chigger bites needs to be treated quickly with appropriate antibiotics as untreated infections can lead to poor outlooks (encephalitis, pneumonitis, and death).

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCES:

Cennimo, David J. "Scrub Typhus." Updated Jul 22, 2013
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/971797-overview>

Missouri Department of Conservation. "Chiggers."
<http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/arthopo/chiggers/>


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/14/2016

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