Medical Definition of Chiggers
Chiggers: The larvae of one type of mites, of the family Trombiculidae. The larvae, or juvenile forms, feed on vertebrates such as humans, while the adult mites feed on soil. Chigger bites produce a red welt accompanied by an intense and unrelenting itch. Chiggers are so tiny that they can barely be seen with the naked eye. However, when they are present in a group, they may be noticed on the skin due to their red color. When chiggers bite humans, they inject a digestive enzyme into the host skin that destroys tissue. It is this tissue, and not blood, that serves as food for the chiggers. Chiggers have delicate mouth parts that typically can enter human skin only at areas where the skin has folds or wrinkles. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, the back of the knees, the crotch, under the belt line and in the armpits. The chigger bite itself goes unnoticed, and the itching may last for days to weeks.
Picture of Chigger Eggs, Larvae, Nymph, and Adult
Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016
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