Health Issues: CHIGGERS

By Dr. Michael Miles

Though we are thankful for the monsoons, along with the much needed moisture and consequent vegetation come the bugs. Some of the more bothersome ones of this season include mosquitoes, kissing bugs and chiggers.

Chiggers will be our topic of discussion today. These little critters are extremely small mites. In fact, the term chiggers refer to the larval stage of the harvest mite.

They are related to ticks and spiders. They hatch in grassy areas and by the time they are only 1/50 of an inch in size they are in search of food. They instinctively climb to the top of tall blades of grass and await passing animals on which to feast.

Once a larval mite jumps onto a host animal (including humans) they will latch onto the skin with their mouths and secrete saliva that breaks down skin cells to ingest. They do not burrow into the skin nor do they ingest blood. Their meal of choice is skin.

The irritation that we feel is our own reaction to the saliva. Our bodies have an inflammatory response that swells the skin tissue and creates a cavity within which the mites reside while they eat. This inflammation also results in intense itching. Though the bugs may be rubbed or washed off before they finish their usual three to four day meal, the inflammation will occur as soon as the saliva is injected and the resulting welt and itch may last from seven to ten days.

The itch can sometimes be relieved with creams and oils that bring down the inflammation. I am not fond of steroid creams, but they may help diffuse the inflammation and swelling quickly.

This situation is another case where the best treatment is prevention. In other words, do not come in contact with these little mite larva. Avoid brushing through grassy areas during this time of year. Trim down the grassy areas around your house. If you will be maneuvering in and around such areas wear long sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into high boots. Insect repellents can be helpful as well. Immediately upon returning from a suspicious area thoroughly wash yourself with soap and water. Particular areas of the body that are attractive sites for mites include the belt line, under the arms and in and around the groin. Rubdowns with a towel will help dislodge chiggers that are clinging on. Don’t forget to wash the clothes. Many people suggest that a diet with generous portions of garlic in it helps to repel insects like these mites and mosquitoes. Garlic has many beneficial qualities and as such can only be a worthy consideration.

This is a beautiful time of year. I hope that you can enjoy it in comfort and in health.

To comment on this article and others  visit the Copper Area News Facebook or send us an email at CBNSun@MinerSunBasin.com

Leave a Reply

  • Latest News

    Nominate an outstanding teacher for Gila County Teacher of the Year

    19 hours ago
    by

    GILA COUNTY – Gila County School Superintendent Linda O’Dell is proud to announce that Gila County Teacher of the Year […]


    SR 77 Aravaipa Creek Bridge Replacement Project

    April 17th, 2014
    by

    The Arizona Department of Transportation is set to begin a construction project this month to replace the Aravaipa Creek Bridge […]


    Pastor’s Corner: Celebrating the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

    April 15th, 2014
    by

    In John 19:28-30 we read these words:  “Knowing that all was now completed and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,


    Cross country runner makes stop in Superior to help veterans

    April 15th, 2014
    by

    Anna Judd, a 29-year-old resident of Orange County, has set out on a mission to run across America to raise money and awareness for veterans.


  • More Stories

    Synergistic fusion of music, art and poetry debuts with Oracle Piano Society

    December 23rd, 2013
    by

    By Evaline Jones Auerbach Special to the Miner Oracle Piano Society truly “showed its stuff” with a remarkable performance of […]


    CV Foundation hosts successful art, wine auction

    December 4th, 2013
    by

    Over the years the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center Foundation Art & Wine Auction has developed into a highly anticipated […]


    CAC’s Dr. Beth Krueger combines online learning with hands-on experience at iconic Arizona venues in new biology course

    December 4th, 2013
    by

    COOLIDGE, Ariz. – Twenty-two Central Arizona College students, who live throughout Pinal County, are learning biology paired with natural history […]


    Local Vietnam veteran honored by American Legion

    November 13th, 2013
    by

    By John Hernandez San Manuel Miner Conrado Francisco Bilducia was born Jan. 18, 1947 in Tempe, Ariz. and grew up […]


  • Facebook

  • [Advertisement.]
  • Arizona Headlines & Current Weather

  • Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin