Authored by Kennedy Allen in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 08-27-2009
Avoiding chiggers on a trip out hiking or camping in the wild may seem like the impossible. Being as to how they are virtually invisible to the human eye, chigger bites seem unavoidable. However, there are ways to keep ourselves safe from these pesky little intruders and keep our forage into nature virtually itch free.
For starters, the clothing worn can help keep chiggers at bay. To prevent chiggers, it is advisable to wear closed shoes, long pants and a long sleeve shirt. However, if the heat is already too much to handle, there are other remedies to avoid chiggers from attacking us with their itchy bites!
Before going out, make sure you have plenty of bug spray with DEET. This chemical keeps chiggers away. Spray all over your shoes and clothing, taking special precaution on the shoes and ankles. Make sure the shoes you opt to wear do not have any mesh areas chiggers can climb in to.
Another safety precaution to avoid chiggers is sulfur powder. The combination of powdering your body with sulfur and spraying your clothing with DEET seem to be the winning one in the battle versus chiggers. A good trick is to pile the sulfur powder into a sock and knot the top for an easy powder application you can reapply while already outside. Again, make sure that you cover up your feet and ankles really well because chiggers tend to climb up from the ground. Stop chiggers before they reach the exposed skin.
If you have pets, it is wise to protect them as well because chiggers will bite them too. This can be very uncomfortable for them and can result in painful welts they cannot treat like humans do! For this reason, powder your pets paws before entering nature with you for your hike.
Keep in mind that to best avoid a chiggers bite one should not be sitting on grass or hiking through tall shrubbery, as these are all chigger habitats. Once you get home, quickly remove the clothing worn outside and wash it to rid of any chiggers which might have been brought in on them. Take a warm shower and give your pet a bath. If you did bring in any chiggers, this will rid you of them and prevent them from biting.
Luckily chiggers are not responsible for any diseases. Other than painful and extremely irritating itchy welts, chiggers are danger free. However, the amount of itchiness that can result from a single bite can be quite excruciating and can last up to two weeks. In the event of a chigger bite, apply a hot compress to the area, and wash with bleach. After thorough washing with bleach, the itching should have subsided a bit. Wash the chigger bite with soap and apply heat again. You may alternate the heat later with cold to relieve the swelling and pain.
Chiggers are an extreme annoyance that is hard to avoid completely. It is important to take the proper precautions to minimize the potential number of bites because one bite is better than two!