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Health Information For Kids
Chiggers are tiny (most can only be seen with a magnifying glass) and red, and they are a type of mite. Mites aren’t insects — they are arachnids and part of the same family as spiders, scorpions, and ticks.
Chiggers are found all over the place, including in grassy fields, along lakes and streams, and in forests. There are adult chiggers and baby chiggers (called larvae), but only the baby chiggers bother people and animals.
Chiggers have tiny claws that allow them to attach tightly onto people and animals. Once attached, they can pierce the skin and inject their saliva (spit), which contains digestive juices that dissolve skin cells. The chigger then slurps up the dissolved skin cells. To the chigger, this is a tasty meal! Having a chigger do this is very irritating to your skin.
After a few days, the chigger will be done feeding and fall off a person’s skin, leaving behind a red welt where it had once been.
If a person gets bitten by a chigger, the bite will be very itchy. A chigger bite will cause a tiny red bump, which will get bigger and itchier as time goes on. The itchy bump can last for days or even a couple of weeks.
If you think you’ve been bitten by a chigger, wash the bite with soap and water. To help with the itching, put some calamine lotion or a cold compress (like ice wrapped in a clean towel) on the area. Or an adult can find an anti-itch cream or medicine at the drugstore for you. Try not to scratch the bites too much because this can make them become infected.
Because chigger bites are so itchy, many people do get an infection from scratching them so much. If this happens, the doctor will prescribe a medicine to help with the itching and a medicine to clear up the infection.
The best way to avoid getting bitten by a chigger is to wear an insect repellent. Ask your parents to apply one that contains 10% to 30% DEET.
When it’s possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, especially if you’ll be hiking or playing in fields.
Once you come in from being in an outdoor area that may have chiggers, take a hot shower and use plenty of soap. Also, be sure to wash your clothes in hot water to kill any chiggers that might be living there.
Fire ants think they’re hot stuff. Learn how to handle them in this article for kids.
Scorpions are about three inches long (about the length of a crayon), with eight legs and a small pair of claws that look like crabs’ claws. Read all about them.
Bee, or honeybee, is the word many people use to describe any flying insect that has wings and a stinger. Learn more about bees.
A tick attaches itself to the skin of a person or animal and sucks blood. If you have a dog, it may have picked up a tick before! Learn more about ticks in this article for kids.
There are thousands of different kinds of mosquitoes in many different sizes and colors. Learn all about mosquitoes and how they bite you in this article.
Lice need to suck blood to survive, and they sometimes live on people’s heads and lay eggs in their hair. Get the lowdown on lice in this article.
A gnat is a very tiny insect, no bigger than the head of a pin. Learn more about gnats.
A flea is a small (no bigger than the head of a pin) brown bug with a hard shell. Learn more about fleas and how they affect you in this fun article just for kids.
A bedbug is a small, flat, reddish-brown bug that can be found in homes all over the world. Learn more about bedbugs.
The black widow spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about them!
The brown recluse spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about the brown recluse spider.
A tarantula is a black, hairy spider that is about two to three inches long. Learn all about spiders and tarantulas in this fun article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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