Symptoms and Signs of How to Treat Chigger Bites

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 2/17/2022

Doctor's Notes on How to Treat Chigger Bites

Signs and symptoms of chiggers are the presence of chiggers on the skin and intense itching, with flat or raise red bumps on the skin that may blister. Chiggers are barely visible to the naked eye; may have six legs while the adult forms have eight legs. Chiggers are a reddish color; juvenile forms that do the biting require a humid environment (for example, groin areas, armpits, and skinfolds behind the knees).

Chiggers insert their feeding structures into the skin and these structures and associated chemicals cause the chigger bite skin symptoms and signs.

What are the treatments for chigger bites?

The treatments for chigger bites are relatively easy to do at home. They are as follows:

  • Immediately wash skin with soap and water to rid yourself of any chiggers; then apply an antiseptic cream or lotion
  • Avoid scratching; apply ice or over-the-counter anti-itch medication like calamine lotion or a hydrocortisone-containing medication
  • Avoid hot showers and baths

Infrequently, some bites and skin scratches may become infected; if this happens, see your doctor for an antibiotic to treat this secondary infection.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.