Chiggers: At War With Those Pesky Little No-See-Ums
Chiggers Are More Rampant During Warm Weather
Just about the time summer heats the land, we hit the water, attend family or friends' out-door gatherings and bask in the sun. But there is something lurking in the sand and grassy areas--an invader that is about to have its way with us. No, there is not a friendly little reminder that, we, with no advance notice, are about to spend some sleepless nights.
Enter the the "Chigger" or "Red-Bug" as it is affectionately known...Not! And for those of you who are more scientific minded, (where remedy plays not part) they are part of the mite family called Trombiculidae: the family of trombiculid mites. I simply call them "red bug" and will fore-go calling them expletives that would surely offend the sturdy-hearted.
What we are are about to experience is the "Chigger" in its most formidable and aggravating stage: the larvae stage. These tiny invaders (no-see-ums) will attach themselves to animals and us unsuspecting human victims, where they begin their feeding frenzy.
Their job, while in the larvae stage, is to feed on human skin cells by injecting digestive enzymes that breaks down the skin allowing the little rascals to feast. But the irritation goes deeper than that, and "the living hell" they cause is in the details. Once they attach themselves to us, they will typically work their way into areas of ill repute. After some time of consumption, they leave us with an in-humane itch with very little recourse or remedy. By the time the discomfort begins, they have already vacated the area leaving us scratching, seemingly to no end.
Have you ever tried to hold back a constant embarrassing cough in a theatre? Well, it's about as difficult to hold back from scratching those pesky itches that will send ya to the moon Alice! The infected areas can be numerous and one can become quite agitated--not just physically. The result of your efforts: scratching like your digging a hole; giant-round-swollen area as large as a silver dollar, a protrusion reaching as much as an eighth-inch...I know, been there--had that! . Once the deed is done, the Chigger drops off and becomes a nymph where it no longer requires our tender flesh, but rather that of plant material. Talk about eat and run.
What cure? An acid bath might cross the mind of the infected, (please don't try that) but there are temporary measures to calm the itch such as calamine lotion, antihistamines and such, but time is the only solution I've found to work on a consistent basis--not exactly comforting. Some folks use clear fingernail polish thinking they'll suffocate the the tiny pest. This is a fallacy as the guilty party has long left the food table. I've tried the nail polish method and I can honestly say: It did burn--which was certainly more comforting than the itch, but a very temporary method of relief.
I've had some success using "Deet" typically found in insect repellents. A hardy dousing of this product on your pants up to your waist will be helpful. Though the directions don't recommend you spray your skin, I do and have for years. I use it often because of the type of outdoor work I do and I mainly use the stuff for not only red bug, but also mosquitoes, ticks and yellow fly.
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