What is the worst itch you can think of? Mosquitos? Allergies? Heat Rash? Yesterday I had a photoshoot in some tall grasses out in the countryside and nobody remembered to bring the bug spray. Sadly, ever since last night I have been suffering with the worst case of chigger bites! I counted more than 12 bites and the number keeps rising. For those of you who don't know what chiggers are, it is safe to say they are the worst pests you can get bitten from if you hate being itchy! Because I was suffering, I thought I would let you guys know how to prevent and treat exposure to chiggers.
A little background on the bug brings forth the fact that they are tiny bugs barely visible to the eye, but pack a mean punch later on. They are found in the midwest and southern parts of North America so there are probably plenty of you lucky people who have never come across them before. After being "bitten" the resulting "bite" may not show up for 12-24 hours later but when it does, MAN DOES IT ITCH! I actually only got 3 hours of sleep last night because the itch woke me up. They also find barriers or "edges" on you to bite, so if you notice itchy bites along your armpits or underwear, bra, pant, or sock line it was probably a chigger. Okay, enough with the bad stuff. Here's how to not get bitten, and what to do if you do get bitten!
1. Avoid tall grass, brush, and wooded areas. Keep grass short in your own property.
2. If you must venture into these untamed environments, wear BUG SPRAY with DEET on your clothes!
3. Wear clothes with tightly woven fabrics that cover your body and don't leave many holes for exposure. Tucking jeans into boots or pants into socks helps.
4. Immediately wash yourself and any exposed clothing as soon as you get home in hot, soapy water.
I have been bitten! Oh precious skin, what do I do?!
1. Don't scratch! This will only aggrivate the irritation and lead to a break in the skin which can cause infection.
2. Contrary to popular belief, the chigger doesn't actually bury itself under the skin so applying clear nailpolish and similar remedies are actually not suffocating the bug. Instead, make sure you shower as soon as possible after exposure.
3. Apply an anti-itch medication. Hydrocortizone works well, or you can also take an oatmeal bath.
4. You can take a Benadryl but I prefer not to during the day because it will knock you out!
5. Wait it out. The itch will probably last up to two weeks and if you are already bit, there is not much more you can do. It's definitely best to prevent bites in the first place!
Anyway, here's to keeping you from suffering like I did, and a couple pics from the shoot to decide... Was it worth it? :P