There is no doubt about it: Chigger bites are itchy, irritating, and mighty annoying. To keep these troublesome critters at bay, you can use certain essential oils if you prefer natural pest control remedies. For example, using tea tree oil for chiggers typically does the trick. Of course, it is also helpful to learn about the best treatment methods as well as how to prevent chiggers from biting in the first place.
Using Essential Oils for Chiggers
Tea tree oil does a good job of staving off chiggers in addition to ticks and deer flies. That said, you should never apply tea tree oil (or any other essential oil) directly to your skin. Instead, dilute the essential oil by mixing three to six drops per 1 ounce of a carrier oil, such as almond, olive, or jojoba. Some other essential oils that chiggers hate include lemon and citronella. Just keep in mind that these should also be diluted with a carrier oil before applying them.
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How to Treat Chigger Bites
Aside from using essential oil to repel chiggers, it is crucial to know how to treat bites when they occur. Calamine lotion works well for this since it's great at alleviating itchiness and soothing the skin, and getting rid of itchiness is the primary goal of treating chigger bites because chiggers don't actually burrow into the skin. Other treatments include taking Benadryl (or another oral antihistamine) or an anti-parasite medication, like permethrin.
If you are into all-natural remedies, on the other hand, you can try simply applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area. This usually makes itching or skin irritation much more bearable. Bathing or taking a shower with warm water immediately following exposure can help soothe your skin and effectively treat any itchiness as well. However, if you notice that your skin is red and/or swollen, it is best to contact your doctor.
Tips for Preventing Chiggers
Of course, there are some tried-and-true ways to prevent chiggers so that you don't have to worry about using chigger spray for your skin at all. The best way to reduce bites from these pesky mites is to wear long sleeves and pants when venturing into areas with thick vegetation, like tall grass and weeds (also known as chigger territory). Don't forget to tuck your pants into your shoes (tall boots are best) as well. If you think you have been exposed to chiggers, be sure to wash your clothes and take a hot shower as soon as possible.