Itching buddies

first_imgWho knows what Sid’s scratching? I’m sure he doesn’t have “delusory parasitosis.” That’s a condition when folks think they have bugs crawling on them and they don’t.But I’m scratching chiggers. And my ankles are about to itch me to death.I got the chiggers Saturday when I toted some tree limbs that had fallen during the recent storms down into the woods behind my house.Thankfully, I didn’t sit down somewhere, or I’d be scratching my — well, never mind.My next door neighbor has chigger bites on his ankles, too. And he got them in the woods behind his house, only he was down near the lake.Red mite larvaeChiggers are the larvae of the red mite. The red mite feeds on plants. But the red mite larvae, the “chiggers,” feed on warm-blooded animals — me and you, and I guess Sid.You may have heard that chiggers burrow into your skin, but that’s wrong. They bite you at the base of a hair follicle and inject salivary fluid. That fluid breaks down your cell tissue into a fluid that the chigger can then ingest back up. If you can imagine a miniature “Slurpee,” then you’ve got the idea.The bites cause welts and terrible itching. That’s because your skin reacts to the chiggers’ salivary fluid. And that’s probably why people think the chiggers are burrowed in there somewhere. You can’t see the chiggers but you can sure tell where they’ve been.Chiggers’ favorite placesChiggers like areas of your body where your clothes fit tightly, such as around your waist, and in my case, where the elastic part of my socks were.I could have prevented the little critters from making such a meal out of me if I’d sprayed myself with an insect repellent before I went into the woods or if I’d showered soon after coming back — they wash off easily enough.But since I didn’t do either, I’ll just have to put up with the itching for a while and figure out a good way to scratch.And you know, a Brillo pad might just do the trick!last_img

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