What is a Chiggers Rash?
Chiggers rashes, also known as Trombiculosis, are inflammatory reactions on the skin caused by the bite of trombiculid mites or “chiggers”. Chiggers are tiny mites that are actually the precursory larval forms of adult arachnids. Their bites are most commonly received when staying in grassy areas such as forests, fields, or parks which are the main habitat of these tiny organisms because they dwell on grass tips, feeding on vegetation. Their bites leave small red marks on the skin that can be intensely itchy.
Chiggers Rash Symptoms
Chiggers bite rashes have the following symptoms:
- Bites leave red and raised marks, that look similar to blisters.
- Rashes are extremely itchy, reaching greatest intensity in 1 or 2 days after being bitten.
- Common in areas which have thinned skin such as in the area of the groin or armpits; also common on the ankles and on the skin behind the knees.
Chiggers Rash Causes
Chiggers rashes are caused by the digestive enzymes the mites deposit under a person’s skin as they feed. The enzyme is injected into the skin through the feeding tube the mite uses to penetrate soft surface of the skin. The feeding tube called the sylostome allows entry of the enzyme into underlying layers causing irritation and setting off an allergic and inflammatory response that leads to the development of rashes.
Chiggers Rash Treatment
The rashes are primarily treated to provide relief from the constant itching. Anti-itch creams and medications include calamine lotion and corticosteroid creams to reduce and eventually eliminate itching. Antihistamines taken orally such as Benadryl can also effectively get rid of itching and inflammation.
Treatment for chiggers rashes is especially important if scratching of the itchy skin has resulted in abrasions, making secondary infection possible. Self-care should include avoidance of scratching in order to prevent chafing the skin.
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