Even in August the grass looks green and lush thanks to the above average amount of rain that has fallen in Anne Arundel County these past couple of months. Unfortunately, that means an increase in the amount of chiggers that are present. Chiggers hitch rides on people who walk through infested vegetation. Chiggers tend to gravitate to areas where clothing fits tightly against the skin.
Where Chiggers Live
In general, chiggers are more common in damp areas with low-growing shrubs, tall grasses, and weeds. The distribution of chiggers is usually patchy with separate concentrations appearing throughout the area. Keeping lawns mowed and removing unnecessary shrubs and weeds will decrease chigger habitat and is the most effective form of area control.
Avoidance is the Best Defense
The best defense against chigger bites is to avoid them, although this is not always possible. Loose-fitting, tightly woven fabrics provide the best protection. To keep chiggers on the outside of your clothing, tuck your pants into your socks and wear long-sleeved shirts. Removing your clothing and taking warm, soapy showers as soon as possible following exposure also greatly reduces the number of chigger bites. Always be sure to wash the clothes prior to wearing them again.
Commercial insect repellents containing DEET (diethyl toluamide) work well at repelling chiggers if applied to clothing from the feet up, and reapplied every 2-3 hours to maintain its effectiveness.
Treating Chigger Bites
Even with proper precautions, the use of repellants, and habitat management, you may still suffer from the itching of a few chigger bites. Anti-itch creams or hydrocortisone ointments give the best relief from the intense itching. Individuals with severe cases of chigger bites should consult their physicians
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