Health Encyclopedia

Chiggers

Chiggers

Chiggers are tiny mites that live in areas with grass or brush. Chiggers, also known as red bugs or harvest mites, usually cannot be seen without a magnifying glass.

Chiggers attach to skin pores and feed on skin cells for a few days, most often in the warm creases of the body. In the United States chiggers do not cause any diseases. But some types of chiggers in Asia and the Pacific carry a disease called scrub typhus.

Chigger bites can result in:

  • Intense itching at the bite site beginning a few hours after the bite. Itching may be at its worst on the second day and may last for days or weeks.
  • A raised bump that gets bigger over 24 to 48 hours and may be present for up to 14 days.
  • Less commonly, fever and a rash.

Home treatment can help relieve itching. The mites will fall off the body within a few days.

Last Revised: July 8, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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